U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer DNY interviews reporters after the weekly Senate Democratic Politics Luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on September 14, 2021.
Evelyne Hawkstein | Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday renewed his call for President Joe Biden to cancel $ 50,000 in student loans for all borrowers, despite executive action.
“In a jiffy, President Biden alone, without any action or approval from Congress, could breathe new life into millions of student loan borrowers,” Schumer said at the virtual state summit. student debt. The remote event includes discussions on racial inequalities in debt, its consequences for mental health, and more. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., And Representative Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. also participated.
“It will free up these Americans to end up buying this house, saving for the education of the children, starting a small business or doing whatever profession they want,” Schumer said. “It could spark a wave of economic activity that our country is missing today.”
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For those who view Schumer as a more moderate Democrat, arguing for student loan cancellation through executive action has come as a surprise. In the 2020 Democratic primary, this more progressive candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT and Warren were pushing for widespread relief. Biden had argued for a narrower approach.
Since taking office, the president has continued to express doubts about the benefits of the blanket cancellation of the loan.
In an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks in May, Biden said, “The idea that you go to Penn and pay a total of $ 70,000 a year and the public should pay for it.” ? I don’t agree with that.
Later at CNN’s mayoralty, the president said, “There is no point in canceling loans for people who go to Harvard, Yale and Penn.”
Advocates point out that it is largely a myth that people with student loans – especially those who are struggling – have the benefits of a prestigious education behind them. In fact, less than 1% of borrowers attended Ivy League college.
Schumer also takes a different stance from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the president does not have the power to write off student loan debt.
Biden has yet to weigh in on whether he can write off the debt without Congress. He has asked the Justice Department and the Education Department to consider their options, and the agencies’ findings have yet to be made public.
Schumer praised the Biden administration for the billions of dollars in student loans it has already canceled, for borrowers with disabilities or attending fraudulent schools. But he said a lot more needs to be done.
“It’s a step in the right direction, I grant it,” Schumer said. “But in the grand scheme of things, that’s very little of what we need to see.”