This week, president Biden came through, in part, on a campaign promise: to cancel student debt. According to Politifact, while campaigning, Biden promised full student debt cancellation. At other times he cited a minimum of $10,000.
Student loan debt forgiveness has been extended a number of times through the pandemic, after Congress passed legislation in early 2020, with then president Trump extending it through January 31, 2021.
In remarks from the White House, Biden said:
..."First we made incredible progress advancing America's economic recovery. We wound down pandemic relief programs like the ones for unemployment insurance and small businesses. It's time we do the same for student loans.
"Student loan payments pause is going to end. It's going to end December 31st. I'm extending to December 31st and it's going to end at that time. It's time for the payments to resume.
"When I campaigned for president, I made a commitment. I made a commitment that we'd provide student debt relief, and I'm honouring that commitment today.
"Using the authority Congress granted the Department of Education, we will forgive 10,000 dollars in outstanding federal student loans.
"In addition, students who come from low-income families which allowed them to qualify a Pell grant, will have their debt reduced by $20,000..."
About 43 million borrowers are eligible for student debt relief. About 20 million will have their remaining balances canceled. Low income Pell grant recipients are eligible for 20,000 in debt relief, and anyone earning under 125,000 annually can expect 10,000 in relief.
Biden has been under pressure to take action on the issue for some time. Elizabeth Warren was one of those who had been urging the president.
“The cancellation the president is offering is historic,” she said. “It will be life-changing for tens of millions of people. I will keep pushing to raise the numbers, but we need to pause for a minute to recognize just how powerful the president’s announcement today is.”
“This is America saying that our people, even people who don’t have a lot of money, are our best investment. And we’re just going to keep right on investing. I love it.”
As usual, Republicans can’t resist complaining. Any attempt by Biden and/or Democrats to help average Americans, even at a minimum, is met with resistance and absurd arguments and accusations. It’s all about communism!
“Once again, the Biden administration is selling out working families to appease the far-left wing of the Democrat party,” Senator John Barrasso complained in a statement.
“It’s about giving people a fair shot,” Biden said. “It’s about the one word America can be defined by: possibilities. It’s all about providing possibilities.”
Sources: USA Today, Business Insider, Forbes, Whitehouse.gov.