April 1, 2021 5:59 pm
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Categories: Education Featured Joe Biden JoshWho News Miguel Cardona Nation Politics ron klain Saraa Carter student debt

Biden admin to review authority to cancel student debt via executive action

President Joe Biden has requested that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona prepare a memo on the president’s legal authority to cancel student debt, White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Politico in a Thursday interview.

“Hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks,” Klain said of the memo. “And then he’ll look at that legal authority, he’ll look at the policy issues around that and he’ll make a decision.”

“He hasn’t made a decision on that,” Klain added, “either way, in fact, he hasn’t yet gotten the memos that he needs to start to focus on that decision.”

The Department of Education (DOE) memo is being conducted in tandem with the Department of Justice, with the DOE spearheading it.

The chief of staff’s remarks come as Democrats in Congress—such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—are calling for Biden to sign an executive order canceling up to $50,000 in student debt, as NBC News noted. Lawmakers, though, have acknowledged that they didn’t have the required GOP backing to pass a bill that would do the same.

While Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign expressed support for canceling up to $10,000, he has stated he doesn’t think he carries the legal authority to unilaterally eliminate as much as $50,000 without congressional action.

“I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating,” Biden said at a town hall event in February. “I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50 [thousand], because I don’t think I have the authority to do it.”

44.7 million Americans—one out of five—have student loan debt, according to the latest Federal Reserve data, with there being $1.71 trillion in total U.S. student debt.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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