Student Loans: Biden and Congress Headed for a Collision
Republicans have stated that they will try to block any effort by Biden to cancel student loan debt broadly.
The Biden administration plans to make its long-awaited announcement on federal student loan relief on Wednesday, according to a CNN report.
It appears that White House officials are leaning toward the cancellation of up to $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower with annual incomes of less than $125,000, said multiple sources familiar with the discussions.
Furthermore, there will likely be a final short-term extension, perhaps until after the midterm elections in November, of the moratorium on federal loan repayments that has been in place at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Without an extension, millions of borrowers would have to restart payments starting on September 1.
The report comes on the heels of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirming over the weekend that he expects the Biden administration to announce in “the next week or so” a decision on federal student loan payments.
“We've been talking daily about this, and I can tell you that the American people will hear within the next week or so what the president and the Department of Education will be doing around that,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press.
For months, top Washington lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have aggressively pushed Biden to sign off on forgiving $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower. The president, however, has continued to state that he won’t go higher than his campaign promise of $10,000 per borrower.
Since taking office, Biden has canceled about $32 billion of student loan debt for more than 1.5 million borrowers. However, the nation’s student loan debt still sits at more than $1.7 trillion spread across forty-five million Americans, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Meanwhile, per CNBC, several Republicans have stated that they will try to block any effort by Biden to cancel student loan debt broadly.
“As Americans continue to return to the workforce more than two years since the pandemic began, it is time for borrowers to resume repayment of student debt obligations,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said in a statement.
“Taxpayers and working families should not be responsible for continuing to bear the costs associated with this suspension of repayment. This common-sense legislation would protect taxpayers and prevent President Biden from suspending federal student loan repayments in perpetuity. Any future suspension of federal student loan repayments should be left to Congress, not the Biden administration,” he concluded.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.