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Biden asks the Education secretary to see if he can legally cancel student debt

Biden asks Education Secretary to check on legal debt cancellation.

April 5, 2021: – President Joe Biden requests that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona prepare a report on the president’s legal authority to cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said interview on Thursday’s Politico.

“Hopefully, we’ll see that in the coming weeks, and then he’ll see the legal authority and the policy issues around that, and he’ll make a decision,” Klain said.

On the campaign trail, Biden said he supported $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. Still, he is under mounting pressure from the Democratic Party, advocates, and borrowers to go further and cancel $50,000 for each person and do so through executive action.

However, Biden has expressed reluctance at bypassing Congress in canceling student debt, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested in February that the administration hadn’t ruled out the possibility. Biden extended a pause on payments for federal student loan borrowers on his first day in the office that has been in effect since March.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he’s concluded that Biden can forgive $50,000 of the debt on his own.

Elizabeth Warren vowed to forgive student loans at the beginning of her administration, with the announcing an analysis by three legal experts, regarding the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School, in which student debt forgiveness is described through executive action as “lawful and permissible.”

Others say Biden would run into court challenges if he tried to nix the debt on his own.

If it determined that the president could cancel student debt without passing legislation, borrowers could see their balances reduced or eliminated overnight. On the other hand, the chances of Congress agreeing to forgive the loans is, at best, uncertain given Democrats’ razor-thin majority.

“I think the administration is searching hard for a legally justifiable way to discharge up to $10,000,” said A. Wayne Johnson. He was formerly in charge of federal student loan debt at the U.S. Education Department.

At the same time of his resignation in 2019, Johnson called for $50,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower, saying that the system in the U.S. was bordering on predatory and that they could never repay the large share of the debt.

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