House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that President Joe Biden does not have the authority to forgive student debt.
What she said: During a press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, the House Speaker said that people who believe the president can cancel student debt on his own are misinformed. She claimed that Congress has to be involved in such an act, suggesting either that Congress can enact student loan cancellation or that it can grant the president such power.
Pelosi said that the president can only postpone student loans.
“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress,” Pelosi told reporters.
She also appeared to poke holes in the push to forgive student loan debt, noting that the American public may not like it.
“Suppose your [child] decided they do not want to go to college. But you’re paying taxes to forgive somebody else’s obligations. You may not be happy about that,” Pelosi said.
Members from her own party have suggested otherwise. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have repeatedly called on Biden to cancel $50,000 in federal student debt via executive action.
Schumer has even said that “All [Biden] need[s] is the flick of a pen.”
“To make borrowers repay their debts now would be unfair, would be harsh and in many instances would be cruel,” Schumer said Tuesday. “People were thrown off their stride by Covid. Give them a chance to recover.”
Pressley has argued that the president “has already used that authority to cancel the debt of students defrauded by for-profit colleges” and “cancel the interest on federal student loans.”
Worth noting: Biden, who campaigned on the promise to forgive student debt, has asked the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice to review his legal authority to cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower.
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