‘Tick Tock, Mr. President.’ Warren, Schumer Urge Biden To Cancel Student Debt

‘Tick Tock, Mr. President.’ Warren, Schumer Urge Biden To Cancel Student Debt


Leading congressional Democrats held a press conference this afternoon, urging President Biden to cancel student loan debt.

“Tick tock, tick tock,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), noting that 30 million Americans will have student loan bills due by October as the current moratorium on federal student loan payments comes to an end. “The payment pause is running out, and the size of these payments for many borrowers is the size of their rent or car payment,” which will lead to “hard choices” for borrowers.

Warren called on Biden to extend the moratorium on student loan payments and use executive action to cancel $50,000 or more in student loan debt. Warren compared student loan debt to a “sword” hanging over the heads of borrowers. “Every day that draws by, that sword draws a little closer. The President can remove this sword, and can remove this pain, by cancelling $50,000 or more in student loan debt.”

Warren was joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who donned a “cancel student debt” face mask at the press conference. “President Biden should use his existing legal authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt,” he said. Schumer argued that the student loan payment pause showed how important cancelling student loan debt is for borrowers, as it has freed up financial resources for millions who have not had to make their student loan payments.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who also joined the press conference, argued that cancelling student loans is a matter of racial justice, characterizing student loan debt as “policy violence” against Black and Brown borrowers, who have been forced to take on higher levels of student debt as compared to their White peers. “President Biden has an opportunity and a responsibility to address the hurt and harm these communities are feeling by using his executive authority to cancel $50,000 in federal student loan debt.” Pressley argued that student debt cancellation would help to address the racial wealth gap.

Biden made promises to enact broad student loan forgiveness during his presidential run last year, but so far, he has opted for a more targeted approach. Biden has cancelled hundreds of millions of dollars in student loan debt for borrowers defrauded by certain for-profit schools, but this amounts to a tiny portion of the $1.8 trillion in student loan debt that remains outstanding. Biden has said he could support $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower, but has so far not favored $50,000 or more in student debt cancellation, as suggested during today’s press conference.

Warren, Schumer, and several leading student loan legal experts have argued that President Biden has broad authority to cancel student debt using executive action, without requiring Congressional involvement. Department of Education officials under former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos disagreed, however, arguing that widespread cancellation of student loans is beyond the President’s statutory authority.

In April, Biden ordered his administration to conduct a legal review of statutory authorities for student loan cancellation. The administration has not yet indicated whether that review has concluded.

Meanwhile, the student loan landscape remains uncertain for borrowers. Two major student loan servicers recently announced their departure from the student loan servicing space, throwing 10 million student loan borrower accounts into potential turmoil this fall. At the same time, millions of borrowers are scheduled to resume repayment of their student loans after the payment pause ends in September. The Biden administration is reportedly mulling a possible extension.

Further Reading

Student Loan Mess Looms: Borrowers, Do These 6 Things By September

Huge Student Loan Servicing Shakeup: This Major Loan Servicer Is Ending Its Contract

Elizabeth Warren To Biden: Extend Student Loan Pause To 2022 Or Later

Your Student Loan Servicer Is Changing: 7 Steps To Protect Yourself Now



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