- President Joe Biden supports canceling $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower.
- Press Secretary Jen Psaki said he wants Congress to pass a bill and send it to his desk.
- Congressional Democrats are urging Biden to forgive $50,000 per borrower through executive action.
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President Joe Biden supports relieving some federal student loan debt to help tackle the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, but congressional Democrats are urging him to raise the bar.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the president is in favor of canceling $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower, as he often touted on the campaign trail. But Psaki noted that he wants Congress to first pass the legislation for him to sign.
“He’s calling on Congress to draft the proposal,” Psaki said. “And if it is passed and sent to his desk, he will look forward to signing it.”
Democrats, however, are asking Biden to increase that amount and forgive $50,000 per borrower, and to do so immediately through executive action. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday reintroduced a resolution in the Senate that calls on Biden to support the measure.
“There’s very little that the president could do with the flick of a pen that would boost our economy more than canceling $50,000 in student debt,” Schumer said during a news conference. “This is one of those things that the president can do on his own.”
Video: Senate approves budget bill that sets up Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan (The Washington Post)
“We are not going to let up until we accomplish it,” he added. “It would be a huge push into our economy.”
—Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 4, 2021
Schumer has been leading the push on student loan debt cancelation for months with progressive Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who joined him on Thursday, along with Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alma Adams of North Carolina, and Mondaire Jones of New York.
“Canceling student loan debt is the single most effective executive action that President Biden can take to kickstart this economy,” Warren said at the conference. “Canceling student loan debt is the single most effective executive action that President Biden can take to help close the racial wealth gap. Canceling student loan debt is the single most effective executive action President Biden can take to lift the economic prospects of tens of millions of young Americans.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
On day one in office, Biden signed an executive order that extended a Trump-administration moratorium on student loan payments, interest, and collections until September 30. The deferment had been set to expire on January 31, and was initially passed in the CARES Act from last spring to boost the economy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.