Biden promise to forgive $10,000 in debt remains unfulfilled

Biden promise to forgive $10,000 in debt stays unfulfilled

Joe Biden’s marketing campaign web site for the 2020 presidential election acknowledged {that a} President Biden would “forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans,” which might erase all the student debt for 15 million of the almost 45 million American debtors.

Nearly six months into his presidency, that promise stays unfulfilled. 

Biden campaign website screenshot

A blurb from the Biden 2020 marketing campaign web site. (

The Biden administration has made some focused strikes to cancel debt for sure debtors, and the pandemic fee pause on federally-backed debt funds will result in roughly $100 billion in whole student loan forgiveness between March 2020 and September 2021.

Prominent Democrats, in the meantime, proceed to induce a skeptical President Biden to enact broad-based cancellation of as much as $50,000 through government motion (versus laws handed by Congress).

“Many Americans voted for President Biden because of his promise to provide direct relief to those struggling — and now is the time to act,” U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told Yahoo Finance in a statement. “I will continue pushing the administration to tackle the student debt crisis by cancelling up to 50K in student debt because it is critical to our economic recovery.”

The White House didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Biden backed May 2020 plan to ‘instantly present $10,000 in debt reduction’

Then-candidate Biden known as for student loan forgiveness a number of instances throughout 2020.

On March 22, days earlier than Congress handed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus invoice, Biden tweeted that the federal authorities “should forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans.”

In May 2020, Biden advised The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he backed a proposal to “immediately provide $10,000 in debt relief as stimulus right now — right now for students.”

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In October 2020, Biden advised CNN city corridor questioner that “I’m gonna make sure that everybody in this generation gets $10,000 knocked off their student debt as we try to get out of this God-awful pandemic.”

The pitch was well-liked: Two nationwide surveys from December 2020 confirmed that greater than half of Americans throughout the political spectrum supported student loan forgiveness.

“[Biden] was very explicit about planning to cancel at least $10,000 during the campaign, and he made the campaign promise in several places, him physically, but also within his campaign materials,” Persis Yu, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, advised Yahoo Finance. “It was a prominent piece of his campaign promises, not one of the buried on page 45 of all the documents … and it was certainly one that student loan borrowers are very eager for him to fulfill.”

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on the night of the New Hampshire primary in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Randall Hill     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to supporters at a marketing campaign rally on the evening of the New Hampshire major in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., February 11, 2020. (REUTERS/Randall Hill)

After he gained the election, nevertheless, Biden’s tone shifted. 

In December 2020, President-elect Biden forged doubt on broad student loan forgiveness when he advised a gathering of reports columnists that the Democratic argument to cancel student debt by way of government motion was “pretty questionable,” including: “I’m unsure of that. I’d be unlikely to do that.”

In February 2021, when a member of the audience in a CNN town hall asked President Biden if he would enact $50,000 in student loan forgiveness, Biden replied: “I cannot make that occur.” 

“It depends on whether or not you go to a private university or public university,” Biden defined. “It depends on the idea that I say to a community, ‘I’m going to forgive the debt, the billions of dollars of debt, for people who have gone to Harvard and Yale and Penn.’”

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In May 2021, throughout an interview with The New York Times, Biden reiterated his reluctance to cancel debt: “The idea that you go to Penn and you’re paying a total of 70,000 bucks a year and the public should pay for that? I don’t agree.”

US President Joe Biden speaks about voting rights at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 13, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden speaks about voting rights at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 13, 2021. (Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP)

‘They believe that they’ve been promised’

The basic argument for the president to being able to forgive student debt through executive action, as detailed by the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in a letter to Sen. Warren, is that the Education Secretary has the power “to cancel existing student loan debt under a distinct statutory authority — the authority to modify existing loans found in 20 U.S.C. § 1082(a)(4).”

In March 2020, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain advised Politico that President Biden had requested Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to compile a memo on whether or not the president has the authorized authority to forgive $50,000 in student loan debt by way of government order. 

“Biden is overdue — canceling student debt is overdue,” Thomas Gokey, organizer of the Debt Collective, an activist group, advised Yahoo Finance. “The time to have done it was the day one of the administration.”

The Education Department has not responded to requests for touch upon the memo, although ED just lately employed Toby Merrill, who based the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School and co-authored the authorized evaluation supplied to Warren. 

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In any case, ED officers are actually reportedly recommending that the White House a minimum of prolong the pandemic fee pause by way of January 2022.

The stakes are excessive: Experts, advocates, and outstanding Democrats confused that some stage of student loan forgiveness could be an important transfer earlier than the pandemic fee pause ends.

“It would be prudent to make this decision before restarting payments,” mentioned Yu, who works with many low-income debtors. “It doesn’t make sense to make people start paying and then canceling their loans… [and] if we can clear the books of some of the debt, it could make turning the system back on a lot easier.”

Yu added {that a} main federal loan servicer dropping out of the loan program on the finish of the yr introduced a “recipe for disaster” because the authorities might want to transition roughly 8.5 million debtors to a different servicer. 

“Why send out bills and notices to millions of people, and then just turn around and say, ‘Just kidding, that’s not true,’?” Seth Frotman, government director of the Student Borrower Protection Center and a former student-loan ombudsman on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, advised Yahoo Finance. “It [would] cause mass confusion and disappointment for borrowers.”

Warren beforehand advised Yahoo Finance that if the fee pause is lifted with out cancellation, “we are facing a student loan time bomb that when it explodes could throw millions of families over a financial cliff.” 

Warren and different Democrats additionally requested ED about student debt assortment practices within the face of a possible wave of student loan defaults when the pandemic fee pause expires.

“There’s a lot of anxiety that folks are feeling,” Yu mentioned. “They believe that they’ve been promised some amount of debt cancellation. And for a lot of the folks we work with, it would make a huge difference in their lives to not have this burden going forward.”

Aarthi is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. She might be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.

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