BOSTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is expected to help those fighting the student debt crash by immediately forgiving debt of up to $ 50,000 for federal student loan borrowers, Democrats said Thursday.
Biden can take the step by using the existing authority granted to him under the Higher Education Act, said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey at the conference. an afternoon press conference.
Pressley said the action would solve a crisis that disproportionately hurts black and brown borrowers.
“We are all here to call on President Biden to uphold the movement that elected him and use his executive authority to write off $ 50,000 in federal student loan debt,” Pressley said.
Due to historically discriminatory policies – such as redlining, which limited the ability of blacks to obtain the bank loans needed to buy homes and build wealth over generations – black and brown students seeking college had to rely more on student loans, Pressley mentioned.
“If President Biden is serious about closing the racial wealth gap, if President Biden seeks to rebuild better, then he must use his executive authority to cancel student debt on a large scale and at all levels,” he said. she declared.
Capping the amount of debt relief at $ 50,000 will do the most good for the maximum number of people trapped under piles of debt that make it difficult to buy homes, start businesses and start families. , Warren said.
Canceling $ 50,000 in debt would help close the wealth gap between black and white borrowers, Warren said. She also said that 40% of those who took out student loans were unable to complete their college education, many of them struggling with debt while working in lower paying jobs.
Efforts to cancel student debt have come under criticism from former student debt holders who say they have worked and saved to pay off their debts and don’t think it’s fair for others to be released .
Warren said student debt forgiveness is good for everyone.
“Our economy would be better off if all the people with student loan debt could go out and start their small businesses, be able to buy houses, be able to take public service jobs,” she said. “If we take the position that if I haven’t gotten it in the past, you can’t get it now, we never build anything. We would not have created Social Security. We would not have started medicare.
La’Kayla Carpenter said she was days away from buying her first home when she learned she was in default of $ 23,000 on her student loans. She said she tried to make a deal to be exonerated, but was turned down.
“I did everything I could to stay on the right track – I went to school, I graduated, I got married, I had children,” he said. she declared. “Feeling like I was less than a person because of it didn’t really do me good. “
Biden announced in January that federal student loan payments would remain suspended and interest rates would be set at 0% until at least September 30, extending action by former President Donald Trump’s administration.
The hiatus in student loan payments has since been extended to more than one million people in default of student loans held by private lenders who offered federally guaranteed loans under a program that took end in 2010.