President Joe Biden suggested during a private meeting with Democrats that he is open to canceling student loan debt, despite largely ignoring the issue entirely during the first year of his presidency.
Members of the far-left have continued to push Biden to take action on student loan debt beyond extending the ongoing moratorium on student loans, which are now not expected to kick back in until August.
In March, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for instance, encouraged voters to “bully” the Biden White House into taking significant action on this issue, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), have also pressed Biden on the issue for months. Jayapal has gone as far as suggesting that the cancellation of student loan debt is “racial justice,” “gender justice,” and “economic justice”:
Student debt cancellation is racial justice.
Student debt cancellation is gender justice.
Student debt cancellation is economic justice.
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) April 16, 2022
Biden initially dismissed calls to cancel student loan debt in a significant way. Shortly upon taking office, Biden admitted that he would not cancel up to $50,000 in student debt, although the White House later backtracked, suggesting that the president was willing to explore other avenues:
From the Biden town hall on CNN last night, this questioner asked about canceling $50,000 worth of student debt:
“What will you do to make that happen?”
“I will not make that happen.” pic.twitter.com/Y7auUT2YQZ
— The Recount (@therecount) February 17, 2021
However, it appears Biden may take more forceful action in the second year of his presidency, as his approval rating continues to dip into the negatives on most key issues.
According to the Washington Post, Biden met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week and “signaled multiple times that he was prepared not only to extend the current moratorium but to potentially take executive actions canceling some of the debt altogether, according to two House members in attendance and two aides briefed on the meeting’s contents.”
Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) reportedly raised two issues regarding student loans, asking the president to extend the moratorium beyond August.
“Well, Tony, I’ve extended it every time,” Biden reportedly told the congressman.
The California congressman also pushed Biden to cancel a chunk of student loan debt per person, and Biden was “incredibly positive” about the prospect, according to Cárdenas:
Cárdenas said he then urged the president to issue an executive order to relieve at least $10,000 in student loan debts per person. In making his case, Cárdenas said he told Biden that Latinos in the United States who are carrying student debt still have more than 80 percent of their bill due after more than a dozen years.
Another lawmaker in attendance, Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), said Biden’s response to lawmakers’ requests to cancel at least some student debt was essentially that he would like to do it sooner rather than later. The president suggested he is looking to take the executive action in short order, telling the Hispanic lawmakers that they would be very happy with what he does next, according to aides briefed on the meeting.
Overall, Cárdenas said he felt “confident” that Biden is working on this issue. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has also suggested that Biden will make a decision regarding student loan debt by August,
An April survey from Rasmussen Reports found that most likely voters, 52 percent, are in favor of actions to cancel student loan debt.