Biden: ‘I Am Considering Dealing With Some Debt Reduction,’ But Not $50,000
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks while meeting with small business owners in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Joe Biden said Thursday that he is considering canceling some student loan debt, but much less than progressive Democrats have urged him to.

Speaking to reporters after his prepared remarks Thursday on his request for billions more in aid to Ukraine, Biden was asked about recent comments made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), which suggested that Biden was “more open” to canceling student debt “than ever before.”

“You mean my spokesman said that?” Biden asked, smiling at the reporter, who repeated that it was Schumer who made the comments.

Biden answered the reporter first by defending his move to cancel the debts of people working in public service through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. “Number one, the first thing we did was reform the system that was in place that didn’t work for anybody, that allowed people to write off debt if they engaged in public service,” Biden said. “We have almost a million, 785 — don’t hold me to the exact number, I’ll get the number, 700-some thousand have had debt forgiven, their whole debt forgiven because of their work, working in — [either as] teachers or other means by which they qualify, and we continue to make that easier.”

“Secondly, I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Biden continued. “I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction, but I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness, and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”

Schumer said at a virtual summit by the Student Debt Crisis Center on April 13 that, based on recent conversations, he thought the White House was more open to cancelling student loan debt. “We’re working on it,” Schumer said. “We’re making progress, folks. We are making progress. The White House seems more open to it than ever before.”

“We want our young people to realize that they can have a good future. One of the best, very best, top-of-the-list ways to do it is by canceling student debt, by getting rid of the $50,000, even going higher after that,” he added.

Biden’s remarks also came after CBS News initially reported Wednesday that Biden told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he was “looking at forgiving most federal student loan debt.” CBS News later clarified that Biden did not give a specific amount of debt he would forgive, nor did he say he would wipe out all student loan debt. Biden did, however, indicate that he was going to make a move to cancel some debt. Democratic California Representative Tony Cardenas told CBS that during the meeting, he reiterated that the Caucus supported Biden canceling up to $10,000 of student debt through executive action if Congress could not pass legislation doing so. In response, Biden reportedly told Cardenas, “You’re going to like what I do on that, I’m looking to do something on that and I think you’re going to like what I do.”

In the meantime, Biden extended the student loan repayment moratorium earlier this month through August 31. The freeze was expected to end on May 1. Progressive Democrats are still not satisfied. A group of House Democrats sent a letter to Biden in March asking Biden to extend the pause through the end of the year, and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren insisted Sunday that Biden has the authority to forgive all of the more than $1.6 trillion in student loans held by borrowers.

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