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Biden says he won’t forgive $50,000 of student loan debt for borrowers

'I will not make that happen'
Joe Biden
Posted at 4:34 PM, Feb 17, 2021

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he won’t be canceling $50,000 of student loan debt for borrowers, as has been proposed by other top Democrats.

When asked about the matter during his first presidential town hall with CNN, Biden said, “I will not make that happen.”

Though, during his campaign for the presidency, Biden did say that he supports canceling up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt and he reiterated that during the town hall.

"My point is: I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating," Biden said. "I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not [$50,000], because I don't think I have the authority to do it."

The president said he would consider a program in which student loan debt is forgiven for those who give back to their communities.

"In terms of student debt that's accumulated, is provide for changing the existing system now for debt forgiveness if you engage in volunteer activity,” said Biden. “For example, if you're teaching school, after five years, you'd have $50,000 of your debt forgiven. If you worked in a battered women's shelter, you'd be able to forgive debt."

The Biden administration has said canceling more debt than that would take congressional action.

“The President continues to support the cancelling of student debt to bring relief to students and families,” tweeted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “Our team is reviewing whether there are any steps he can take through executive action and he would welcome the opportunity to sign a bill sent to him by Congress.”

Earlier this month, congressional Democrats released a plan that seeks to forgive up to $50,000 in federal student loans per borrower. They called on Biden to make it happened through executive action.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are two of lawmakers advocating for $50,000. Wednesday, they responded to Biden’s town hall comments with a joint statement.

“Presidents Obama and Trump used their executive authority to cancel student loan debt,” they wrote. The Biden administration has said it is reviewing options for cancelling up to $50,000 in student debt by executive action, and we are confident they will agree with the standards Obama and Trump used as well as leading legal experts who have concluded that the administration has broad authority to immediately deliver much-needed relief to millions of Americans. An ocean of student loan debt is holding back 43 million borrowers and disproportionately weighing down Black and Brown Americans. Cancelling $50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree, and help stimulate the economy. It’s time to act. We will keep fighting.”