President Joe Biden suggested to lawmakers that he is not only looking at further extending the pause on federal student loan payments, but could also soon announce a broader cancellation of student loan debt.
At a closed-door meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Monday, Biden indicated that he may soon issue an executive action to cancel some federal student loan debt, lawmakers and aides told The Washington Post and CBS News.
“I feel very confident that he is pushing on his team to do something, and to do something significant,” Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) told the Post.
However, later on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki would only confirm to reporters what she had previously said: that Biden was “continuing to look” at options and would make a decision on taking action on student debt cancellation before the moratorium on payments is set to expire in August.
About 40 million Americans hold a total of $1.7 trillion in student loan debt.
Democratic lawmakers have been urging the president to cancel student debt, with dozens of members of Congress saying he should use his executive powers to eliminate at least $50,000 in debt per borrower.
Biden previously indicated that he was “unlikely” to eliminate $50,000 in student loan debt per person; during his presidential campaign, he said he supported legislation forgiving $10,000 of debt per person.
Widespread loan forgiveness would have a significant impact on the racial wealth gap, as Black undergraduates are more likely than any other racial group to have to borrow money to pay for college — and Black students graduate with the greatest student loan debt of any group, according to a 2019 report from the American Council on Education.