Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discussed student debt on Wednesday, seeming to hint that the White House could be open to canceling it.
At a virtual summit by the Student Debt Crisis Center, Schumer reportedly stated that he thinks that President Joe Biden can get rid of federal student loans via executive order.
As Business Insider reported, he also said that after Biden’s extension of the student loan payment pause, wide-scale cancellation of student debt needs to be the next move.
“Make no mistake about it: this pause isn’t going to stay forever, and the canceling of student debt is the way to go,” Schumer said.
“We’re working on it,” Schumer added. “We’re making progress, folks. We are making progress. The White House seems more open to it than ever before.”
Common Dreams reported that Schumer “said he and other advocates on Capitol Hill are ‘making progress’ in convincing the president to cancel at least $50,000 per borrower, which Biden could direct Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to do instead of relying on Congress to pass legislation.”
According to a Business Insider reporter, Schumer also said, “College is so expensive that even if you work your butt off, you’re not going to be able to emerge without this huge amount of debt on your shoulders.”
.@SenSchumer speaking now at @DebtCrisisOrg virtual summit: "College is so expensive that even if you work your butt off, you're not going to be able to emerge without this huge amount of debt on your shoulders."
— Ayelet Sheffey (@arsheffey) April 13, 2022
According to The Hill, Schumer claimed that families will have an average student debt payment of $393 per month when the pause is ended.
“That is so much money. How does anybody live knowing every month I got to pay this $400?” he said.
“You get out of college, and you have all this debt,” he said. “I have told the president this is one of the most important things he can do to help our economy. We all want the economy to grow. We all want people to have good lives, where you can provide for yourself and your family.”
“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 said.
Biden has reportedly said he is in support of canceling $10,000 for each student debt borrower, but he wants Congress to pass a measure in order to take such action.
Biden recently extended the pause on student loan payments, sliding the student debt repayment start date from May 1 to August 31, per The Daily Wire. Biden has extended the pause multiple times.
In a statement, the president said that the extension would “enable Americans to continue to get back on their feet after two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced.”
Critics have pushed back against the idea of canceling student debt, especially after prior generations have had to pay off their own and the economy continues to struggle.
However, Biden has faced pressure from several groups, as well as progressive members of Congress, to entirely get rid of it.
In December, more than 200 groups called on Biden to prolong the pause, and go even further.
“In fewer than 60 days, tens of millions of student loan borrowers are slated to be thrown back into repayment on federal student loans they are ill-equipped to pay as the deadly COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate Americans’ health and financial security,” the organizations told Biden. “It is clear that payments should not resume until your administration has fully delivered on the promises you made to student loan borrowers to fix the broken student loan system and cancel federal student debt.”