Schumer, Warren Challenge Biden on Student Debt Cancellation

Two top Senate Democrats said Wednesday they will keep pressuring President Joe Biden to wipe out up to $50,000 per borrower in student loan debt after he shot down the idea of doing so by executive action or without restrictions.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren for months have been pushing Biden to be more ambitious with executive action to cancel about $1 trillion in student loans, and they said they aren’t giving up.

“Canceling $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,” they said in a statement.

Biden appeared to dismiss the idea during a CNN town hall event in Milwaukee Tuesday night. In response to a question from an audience member, Biden said he understood that debt can be debilitating and he would support some relief.

“I do think that, in this moment of economic pain and strain, that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, number one. And, number two, I’m prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not” $50,000, he said.

He suggested that there could be a system “to work it off” with public service jobs. Biden also said he didn’t think he had the authority to write off a larger amount through executive action.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Biden’s statement reiterated his previous position that he “doesn’t favor $50,000 student loan relief without limitation.”