Senate Democrats urge Biden to erase student debt with executive order

Senate Democrats on Monday urged President Joe Biden to use his executive powers to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt after passing the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package, which included a provision to make student loan forgiveness tax-free until 2025.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., has joined Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bob Menendez of New Jersey to highlight the provision of the relief bill and said it paves the way for the Biden administration to use existing executive powers to write off student debt millions of borrowers.

Their collective pleas underscore that Democrats likely lack the votes to wipe out student debt through legislation, which would require at least 10 Republicans in the Senate.

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Schumer said some opponents of student debt cancellation have tried to argue that canceling the loan tax would render relief moot.

“Even some in the Biden administration are making that argument, but now that argument is disappearing,” Schumer said.

The tax fee provision will affect 100,000 students in repayment programs that offer forgiveness and will apply to future student loan forgiveness efforts, Schumer said. Cancellation, he said, would provide relief to millions of borrowers.

Democrats in both houses of Congress renewed their calls for Biden to make canceling student debt a top priority, arguing it would help close the racial wealth gap and boost the economy.

The Biden administration has been reluctant to use executive action on the issue. White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently signaled that the administration would like to see a bill introduced in Congress on the issue.

PSAKI told reporters last month that while “the president has supported and continues to support the cancellation of $10,000 of federal student loan debt per person in response to the Covid crisis,” any further action would have to come from Congress. .

She then tweeted that the White House would also “consider whether there are any steps it can take through executive action.”

On his first day in office, Biden also signed an executive order extending the Covid-19 federal student loan payment pause until October. He then called on Congress in February to cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt per person as an additional coronavirus relief measure.

Now that the U.S. bailout is canceling the student loan cancellation tax bill, Schumer said he’s clearing the way for Biden to issue an executive order on loan cancellation. He said going through Congress would be a lengthy process.

“But if he doesn’t, we will pursue other options,” Schumer said.

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