House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was met with swift backlash Wednesday after she claimed that President Joe Biden doesn’t have the authority to cancel federal student loan debt on his personal, a place that places her at odds with authorized consultants and distinguished members of her personal occasion.
“You couldn’t have a worse message than this one, both factually untrue and politically suicidal.”
—The Debt Collective
“People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) mentioned throughout a press briefing. “He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.”
Progressive activists who’ve been tirelessly pressuring Biden to cancel student loan debt by way of government order instantly pushed again.
The Debt Collective, a union of debtors urging Biden to forgive all $1.8 trillion in excellent federal student loan debt, accused the House Speaker of parroting “right-wing lies” towards debt cancellation.
“The truth is Biden can cancel 100% of your federal student loans with a signature. We wrote the paperwork for him to do it,” the group tweeted, pointing to a draft government order it launched final month.
Last September, Eileen Connor, Deanne Loonin, and Toby Merrill of the Project on Predatory Student Lending argued in a letter (pdf) that—opposite to Pelosi’s declare—the president has the facility to “direct the secretary of the United States Department of Education… to exercise his or her existing authority to cancel federal student loan debt on a broad or categorical basis.”
“We have consulted the statutory and regulatory framework governing federal student loan programs administered by the Department of Education, as well as the framework and controlling interpretations of the budgetary structure of these programs,” the authorized consultants wrote. “We conclude that such broad or categorical debt cancellation would be a lawful and permissible exercise of the secretary’s authority under existing law.”
After questioning whether or not Biden has the facility to cancel federal student loan debt unilaterally, Pelosi went on to entertain speaking factors utilized by those that oppose the very thought of forgiving student debt.
“Suppose… your little one simply determined they, at the moment, [do] not need to go to varsity however you are paying taxes to forgive any individual else’s obligations,” Pelosi said. “You might not be pleased about that.”
In response, New Republic columnist Natalie Shure argued that Pelosi was echoing “a essentially reactionary and individualistic argument that serves to undermine progressive taxation and social spending.”
The Debt Collective added that “you could not have a worse message than this one, each factually unfaithful and politically suicidal.”
Pelosi’s comments came just 24 hours after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) reiterated their call for Biden to cancel at least $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower—a step that Schumer insisted the president has the power to take without congressional approval.
“With the flick of a pen,” Schumer said in a floor speech on Tuesday, “President Biden might give a recent begin to tens of thousands and thousands of debtors drowning in debt.”
The two Democratic senators also pressed the Biden administration to extend a moratorium on student loan payments, which is set to expire at the end of September. The Education Department recently estimated that the pause on interest accumulation alone has saved student borrowers around $4.8 billion a month.
“Tick tock, tick tock,” Warren mentioned throughout a press convention Tuesday. “Over 30 million Americans can have a invoice coming due in about two months. The cost pause is operating out… The measurement of those funds for a lot of debtors is the scale of their hire, their automotive funds, groceries, little one care.”
Earlier this year, Biden directed the Education Department to craft a memo on the president’s legal authority to cancel student loan debt. The document has yet to be released, leading activists to slam the memo request as a “stall” tactic.
In recent months, the Biden Education Department has canceled roughly $3 billion in federal student loan debt for borrowers with disabilities and those who were defrauded by private for-profit colleges. Now, advocates argue, Biden should go further by wiping out all federal student loan debt.
“Our communities need assistance now, and canceling student debt is one thing the Biden administration can do right this moment, with out going via our dysfunctional Congress and searching for ever-elusive bipartisan help,” Braxton Brewington, a spokesperson for the Debt Collective, wrote for Teen Vogue last month. “Eliminating student debt could be an infinite bottom-up stimulus to our financial system, creating thousands and thousands of recent jobs, accelerating residence shopping for, and delivering extra pandemic reduction to communities nonetheless recovering from the hardship of Covid-19.”