Last week, president-elect Joe Biden made his first public comments on an ongoing campaign that progressive Democrats started. The campaign aims to convince the president-elect to “forgive” a portion of student debt.
As he spoke to the media about the challenges he will likely face in January and the limitations of the executive power that comes with the position, Biden said, “I’m going to get in trouble for saying this… arguably, the president may have the executive power to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt… Well, I think that’s pretty questionable. I’m unsure of that. I’d be unlikely to do that.”
Biden had previously reaffirmed his supporters that he would aim for broad student loan forgiveness, but he suggested that he support a smaller amount of $10,000.
During the previous week, Representative Ayanna Pressley and other House Democrats introduced a resolution calling on Biden to cancel $50,000 in federal student loan debt for every borrower using executive authority. Senate Democrats, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, had introduced a similar resolution earlier in the year.
The Democrats needed to maximize turnout among young people, which is why Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer kept them on the tips of their toes.
“President Biden can undo this debt — can forgive $50,000 of [student] debt — the first day he becomes president,” he had said. “You don’t need Congress. All you need is the flick of a pen.”
Little do the young progressives know that this is just par for the course for Biden. After all, while he was a career politician in Delaware, he helped legalize usury, the practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates.