WASHINGTON — As pressure mounts to provide relief to student borrowers, President Joe Biden said Thursday he plans to announce further debt relief within the next two weeks.
“I’m looking at facing debt reduction,” Biden said. “I’m looking closely at whether or not…there will be further debt forgiveness and I’ll have a response on that within the next two weeks.”
Biden faces growing pressure to offer widespread debt relief to student borrowers as the administration continues to suspend student loan repayments.
As of March 2020, the federal government froze the requirement that the country’s 41 million borrowers repay their federal student loans. Biden extended the moratorium until August 31 after it expired in May.
Biden earlier this week told a group of lawmakers he was seeking to forgive some student loan debt, Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-California, said this week.
Biden met with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Monday, where the topic of student loans was discussed.
Cardenas said during an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday that he asked the president “to consider forgoing at least $10,000 or more of debt for every American who has student loan debt.”
“He said, again, we’re going to be very happy with that. He is already working on it,” Cardenas said. “We would like to see him eliminate student debt at all levels, but anything that goes in that direction will be a positive effort and we look forward to the president’s encouragement.”
During the election campaign, Biden promised to forgive at least $10,000 of student debt for every American.
Biden said Thursday he was not considering a $50,000 debt reduction — a figure some lawmakers have said the president has the power to forgive.
Wisdom Cole, national director of the NAACP Youth & College Division, slammed Biden’s comments Thursday, saying writing off at least $50,000 is student loan debt.
“President Biden, we agree that we should not forgive $50,000 in student loan debt. We should call it all off,” Cole said in a statement. “$50,000 was just the bottom line. For the black community, which has racked up debt over generations of oppression, anything less is unacceptable.”
The administration has written off about $18.5 billion in student loan debt since Biden took office. And about $2.1 billion of that has benefited about 132,000 people under the Borrower Defense Program.
Contributor: Chris Quintana
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden to consider further student debt forgiveness in coming weeks