Teacher Unions And Progressive Groups Urge Biden To Cancel Student Debt On First Day Of Presidency

Student loan borrowers could see relief very soon from a Joe Biden presidency.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

“A coalition of 236 mostly progressive groups, including close allies like the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, called on the president-elect on Wednesday to cancel student debt using his executive powers on the first day he takes office.

In a letter to Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the groups did not specify how much debt they’re asking to be canceled. But they noted that Biden pledged during the campaign to cancel $10,000 of each borrowers’ debt ‘immediately’ as part of his response to the coronavirus epidemic.

‘Before the COVID-19 public health crisis began, student debt was already a drag on the national economy, weighing heaviest on Black and Latinx communities, as well as women. That weight is likely to be exponentially magnified given the disproportionate toll that COVID-19 is taking on both the health and economic security of people of color and women,’ the groups wrote, saying ‘bold action is needed.’

However, when asked about dealing with the issue through an executive order, Biden and his campaign’s national policy director have stopped short of vowing to act alone and instead mentioned the more tortuous path of going through Congress.

At a press conference Monday where he discussed the economic recovery plan he’s working on, Biden was asked if canceling some of the nation’s $1.5 trillion in student debt figured into his plan, and if he’d do it through executive order.

‘It does figure in my plan,’ he said without directly answering whether he would act through an executive order. He pointed instead to his support for the COVID-19 relief package pushed by House Democrats.

‘I’ve laid it out in detail,’ he said. ‘For example, the legislation passed by the Democratic House calls for immediate $10,000 forgiveness of student loans.’

Stef Feldman, the Biden campaign’s national policy director, also mentioned a legislative path when he was asked about an executive order during a call with members of the Education Writers Association.

‘Vice President Biden has embraced the proposal, which I actually think was originally put forward by [Democratic] Senator [Elizabeth] Warren. In the midst of this crisis, she proposed legislation to ensure that we cancel $10,000 of debt for every student debt holder immediately, given the moment we are in. And that’s the proposal that Vice President Biden has embraced.'”

For the rest of the story, visit Inside Higher Ed here.

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