(The Hill) – President Biden is on the verge of making a decision on student loan debt forgiveness, with the president and his team focused on canceling $10,000 per borrower, with some caveats potential.
White House officials have warned that no decision has been finalized as Biden continues to weigh his options. The president is scheduled to speak at the Naval Academy commencement ceremony on Friday and at the University of Delaware commencement ceremony on Saturday.
Multiple reports have indicated that Biden is planning to use the weekend start ceremonies to announce a student debt forgiveness, with the Washington Post reporting that the timing was changed following a school shooting in Uvalde, Utah. Texas, which had killed 19 people. A White House official, however, disputed that this is the case.
“No decision has yet been made – but as a reminder, no one has been required to pay a single penny in student loans since the president took office,” deputy press secretary Vedant Patel said.
Multiple sources told The Hill in late April that Biden was considering canceling at least $10,000 in student debt, and it appears the White House appears to have agreed on that number even as it works through potential limits on the beneficiaries of loan cancellation.
The Washington Post reported on Friday that the latest version of the plan would cap debt forgiveness for people who earned less than $150,000 last year, or $300,000 for married couples. It’s also unclear whether the cancellation would apply to all student loan debt or just undergraduate students.
Biden, in the 2020 campaign, backed canceling at least $10,000 in federal student loans per person after several other candidates made student loan forgiveness a key part of their platforms.
Since taking office, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) have repeatedly pushed Biden on the issue, insisting that it would provide immediate relief to minorities and low- and middle-income families. Schumer called for forgiveness of up to $50,000 in student debt per borrower.
While this large sum has been publicly ruled out, Biden has in recent weeks made it increasingly clear that he is prepared to provide debt forgiveness to students.
“I am not considering a $50,000 debt reduction, but I am in the process of looking closely at whether or not there will be additional debt relief and will have a response on that within the next two weeks,” Biden said. on April 28, days after he reportedly told members of the Hispanic Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he was prepared to forgive some student loans.
The White House has yet to give an updated timeline in the month since Biden said a decision was weeks away, but officials pointed to actions that have helped student borrowers over the past year. and a half.
Biden last month extended the pandemic moratorium on federal student loan payments and accrued interest through August. Loan repayments were first suspended in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic under then-President Trump, and the moratorium has been extended several times since.
The White House has repeatedly said Biden is ready to sign legislation canceling student loan debt, but in the meantime he’s weighing the power the president has to unilaterally write off some of the debt.
Conservative critics have pushed for student loan repayments to resume, arguing that the moratorium has cost the federal government billions of dollars and that any broad pardons would disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans. A study by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that about 75% of student loan repayments came from the top 40% earners.
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