White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has suggested the lack of student debt relief stems from disagreements on Capitol Hill, saying President Joe Biden “would gladly sign” a bill overturning 10 $ 000 in student debt if Congress were able to pass such a measure.
“If Congress wanted to pass and send the president a bill to write off $ 10,000 in student debt, he would gladly sign it. That obviously hasn’t happened yet,” Psaki told reporters at the meeting. a press conference on Wednesday, adding: “There is plenty of time left in his presidency.”
While the White House said the president was waiting for Congress, the main Democrats argued that Biden could cancel the debt through executive action.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer renewed the call for Biden to write off $ 50,000 in student debt for all borrowers.
“In a jiffy, President Biden alone, without any action or approval from Congress, could give millions upon millions of student loan borrowers a new lease of life,” Schumer said at a virtual summit .
“This would allow these Americans to finally buy this house, save on children’s education, start a small business or get into the profession they want,” added the senator. “It could spark a wave of economic activity that our country is missing today.”
Others, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have taken a position closer to that of the White House, saying the president does not have the power to cancel student loans himself.
More than seven months ago, Biden asked the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to consider whether he would have the power to write off student loan debt through executive action, but the agencies have yet to release their findings.
While nearly $ 10 billion in student loan debt has been written off since Biden took office, calls for more have continued from many progressive lawmakers.
Schumer called the billions that have been forgiven a “step in the right direction”, but the Senate Majority Leader said that “in the grand scheme of things this is way, far short of what we need to see. “.
If Biden goes ahead and cancels the loans as part of executive action, borrowers should see their balances reduced or eliminated quickly, but legal action could lead to delays.
House Democrats have decided to include a tuition-free community college plan as a provision of the Build Back Better Act, but their slim majority threaten the measure’s inclusion in the final $ 3.5 billion package. of dollars.