Biden Turns His Back On Student Loan Forgiveness

( Progressive voters who backed Democrat Joe Biden at the poll in November are likely to be upset with him before he even takes office.

After a proposal was floated back in September by the leadership of the Democratic Party to cancel student loan debt, it seems Biden has reversed course. The party leadership said Biden and the Secretary of Education would consider cancelling up to $50,000 in student loan debt by using an executive order.

But in speaking with the Washington Post recently, Biden said he would not be likely to cancel the student loan debt — at least by executive order. After that meeting with some columnists from the paper, Karen Tumulty from The Post wrote:

“Biden also said that, as a president who wants to avoid inflaming a closely divided Congress, he plans to tread lightly when it comes to using his executive power — a declaration that no doubt will cause some heartburn on the left, where such caution is considered naïve.

Upon his inauguration, Biden says he plans to issue executive orders to undo some of what (President Donald) Trump has done. He will instruct the United States to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate agreement, to protect immigrant ‘dreamers’ whose parents brought them to the United States as children, and to reinstate environmental regulations that Trump did away with.”

During the meeting, Biden laid out his opposition to doing away with student loan debt via executive order. He told the reporters at The Post:

“That different than my saying, and I’m going to get in trouble for saying this … for example, it’s arguable that the president may have the executive power to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt. Well, I think that’s pretty questionable. I’m unsure of that. I’d be unlikely to do that.”

That statement would seem to go in opposition of what Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and Chuck Schumer of New York wrote in a piece for Data for Progress, which is a liberal think tank. They argued that the power wasn’t questionable at all, and the Democratic Party would push Biden to forgive the student loan debt by executive order.

As Warren and Schumer wrote:

“Congress, through the Higher Education Act, has already given the President and his Secretary of Education the ability to modify, compromise, waive, or release student loans. This authority provides a safety valve for federal student loan programs, letting the Secretary use her discretion to wipe away loans even when they do not meet the eligibility criteria for more specific cancellation programs like disability discharge.

“America needs that safety valve now more than ever. With this action, we could immediately put hundreds of thousands of dollars back in the pockets of millions of Americans during the coronavirus recession.”

But, it doesn’t seem — from his recent comments at least — that Biden is willing to go that far as president. It should make for a dicey situation within the Democratic Party.