In recent months, a number of high-profile Democrats have been pushing for President Joe Biden to unilaterally forgive tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
One of the most vocal lawmakers has been Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). During a Tuesday press conference with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and “Squad Member” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Schumer called on Biden to extend the student loan payment moratorium until next spring and to cancel $50,000 in student debt from borrowers.
“All President Biden has to do is flick his pen, sign it, make America a happier, better, more prosperous place,” said Schumer, who proceeded to show off his “Cancel Student Debt” mask.
But don’t count House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) among those on board with his plan.
During a briefing Wednesday, Pelosi weighed in on the calls from numerous congressional Democrats for the president to forgive student debt and noted that Biden would not be able to do so because it would be outside of his authority.
“People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress,” explained the Democratic congressional leader.
“I do think that what the president is putting forth in Build Back Better, in terms of opportunity for all Americans whether they go to college or not — you know, they may not even aspire to that, and that’s fine, and that’s fine — but we do want to give them vocational training or other opportunity so they can reach their fulfillment as well,” she said.
She then posed a hypothetical, saying, a family with a child who decides against college wouldn’t be happy with paying to “forgive somebody else’s obligations.” She added: “We want all of our kids to reach their fulfillment. To the extent that they want to go to college, we do not want them to be prohibited from doing that for financial reasons.”
Back in February, Biden said he was unwilling to forgive $50,000 in student debt obligations from borrowers, saying he didn’t believe he had the authority to do that. He did, however, say he thinks he has the authority to forgive $10,000 per borrower.
“Under authority ceded to him under the Higher Education Act, the White House believes that Biden is able to forgive $10,000 per individual federal student loan borrower through an executive order,” The Daily Wire reported earlier this week. “As White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained at the time, Biden planned to commission a review under the Department of Justice to determine his legal authority to cancel loan payments. Months later, however, student loan forgiveness was entirely left out of President Biden’s first budget proposal.”