Last Ditch Effort? Biden Flirts With Student Loan Forgiveness Again
President Joe Biden has delayed student loan payments and interest accrual three times since first taking office. Claiming these delays are for the millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, Biden is signaling yet again that he’s open to canceling student loans altogether.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Biden met with lawmakers in a closed-door meeting, where he suggested a new openness to the politically sensitive idea of total loan forgiveness he has avoided until now.
Some advocates believe President Biden’s repeated extensions of the repayment pause on student loans could force his hand on loan forgiveness. He has extended it four times, most recently until Aug. 31. https://t.co/43h4H8fTiL
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 27, 2022
The meeting reportedly left attendees “stunned,” as the president appeared to shift his position on student loan forgiveness after months of saying he didn’t have the authority to do so.
This would be a significant change in policy from the Biden administration, which has previously said it was reviewing its options for student loan relief but had not committed to any specific plan.
It’s unclear exactly what form this possible new policy could take, or when – or if – it might be enacted.
But with Biden now open to the idea of cancellation, it seems likely that some form of debt relief could be on the horizon for America’s student loan borrowers.
Some critics have been quick to point out that holding student debt cancellation over the heads of potential voters is probably a losing midterm strategy. They also ask the basic question of “who really is going to foot the bill” if this policy goes through.
To everyone who demands student loan forgiveness:
What makes you think universities will be the ones to pay off the debt?
Taxpayers are going to foot that bill — YOU'RE going to foot that bill.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) April 21, 2022
Perhaps this line of thinking stems from party pressure for even more progressive policies from the Biden administration ahead of midterms.
The Democrats appear split on this strategy, with the more progressive wing of the party pushing for more socialistic programs, while moderates aim to move away from popularized slogans like “defund the police.”
This move, on the other hand, could prove popular with young voters.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll released last week found that nearly half of likely voters support canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt per person.
But it would also be costly, potentially opening the door to trillions of dollars in new federal spending. And it would help wealthier Americans and graduates of elite schools more than those who need the most assistance.
Biden’s remarks come as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are renewing their push for $50,000 in student loan forgiveness. The two senators introduced legislation last month that would cancel up to $50,000 in debt for federal student loan borrowers, with forgiveness phased out for higher-income earners.
Under the bill, which is unlikely to pass in its current form, 42 million Americans would have their student debt completely erased. Another 25 million would have some of their debt forgiven.
It’s unclear where Biden stands on this specific proposal. But his apparent openness to student loan cancellation marks a significant shift in his position on the issue and could signal major changes to come for America’s student loan borrowers.
Most likely, this is just another cheap way for Democrats to buy votes.
On top of that, Americans know this is basically all Biden has left.