President Joe Biden suggested during a private meeting with Democrats that he is open to canceling student loan debt, despite ignoring the issue entirely during the first year of his presidency.
Far-left members continued to pressure Biden to take action on student loan debt as well as extend the ongoing moratorium on student loans, which is now not expected to return until August.
In March, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for example, encouraged voters to “bully” the Biden White House into taking significant action on this issue, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as well as Rep. the issue for months. Jayapal has even suggested that student loan debt cancellation is “racial justice”, “gender justice” and “economic justice”:
Canceling student debt is racial justice.
Canceling student debt is gender justice.
Canceling student debt is economic justice.
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) April 16, 2022
Biden initially rejected requests to cancel student loan debt in a significant way. Shortly after taking office, Biden admitted that he wouldn’t write off even $50,000 in student debt, though the White House later backtracked, suggesting the president was willing to explore other avenues:
From Biden City Hall on CNN last night, this questioner asked about canceling $50,000 in student debt:
“What are you going to do to make that happen?”
“I’m not going to make that happen.” pic.twitter.com/Y7auUT2YQZ
— The recount (@therecount) February 17, 2021
However, it looks like Biden could take stronger action in the second year of his presidency, as his approval rating continues to slip into the negative on most key issues.
According Washington PostBiden met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week and “signaled several times that it was prepared not only to extend the current moratorium, but to potentially take executive action by canceling some of the debt altogether, according to two House members in attendance and two aides briefed on the meeting content.”
Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) reportedly raised two questions about student loans, asking the president to extend the moratorium beyond August.
“Well Tony, I’ve extended it every time,” Biden told the congressman.
The California congressman also pressed Biden to cancel a portion of the student loan debt per person, and Biden was “incredibly positive” about the outlook, according to Cárdenas:
Cárdenas said he asked the president to issue an executive order to alleviate at least $10,000 in student loan debt per person. In defending his case, Cárdenas said he told Biden that Latinos in the United States who are in student debt still have more than 80% of their account overdue after more than a dozen years.
Another lawmaker in attendance, Representative Darren Soto (D-Fla.), said Biden’s response to lawmakers’ requests to cancel at least some student debt was essentially that he would like to do so sooner rather than later. The president suggested he intends to take executive action shortly, telling Hispanic lawmakers they would be very happy with whatever he does next, according to aides briefed on the meeting.
Overall, Cárdenas said he felt “confident” that Biden was working on this issue. White House press secretary Jen Psaki also suggested that Biden make a decision on student loan debt by August.
An April survey by Rasmussen Reports found that the most likely voters, 52%, are in favor of action to cancel student loan debt.