President Joe Biden asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to review his legal authority to eliminate up to $50,000 in student debt per person, White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Politico.
Biden has resisted calls from progressive leaders like Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal to cut up to $50,000 in debt with an executive order, arguing that he lacks the legal authority.
But Klain told the outlet that Biden has “asked his secretary of Education, who’s just been on the job a few weeks, once he got on the job to have his department prepare a memo on the president’s legal authority.”
“Hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks,” he added. “And then he’ll look at that legal authority, he’ll look at the policy issues around that, and he’ll make a decision.”
Progressives like Elizabeth Warren and establishment Democrats like Chuck Schumer have pressed Biden to use his executive authority to cancel $50,000 in student debt for months. Biden during the campaign called for cutting $10,000 per person.
Dems press Biden to go bigger:
"If it's OK legally to do a small amount, it's OK legally to do a larger amount," Schumer told reporters, according to Business Insider.
Warren said that the cut should not be left to Congress.
"We have a lot on our plate, including moving to infrastructure and all kinds of other things," she said last month. "I have legislation to do it, but to me, that's just not a reason to hold off. The president can do this, and I very much hope that he will."
$10,000 cut would only make a dent in national total:
There are more than 44 million student borrowers in the US who owe a combined $1.7 trillion.
A cut of up to $10,000 per borrower would only reduce that total to $1.3 trillion, CNBC reported, eliminating the entire debt load of 14.4 million people.
Cutting up to $50,000 would reduce the total from $1.7 trillion to $700 billion, eliminating the debt load for 36 million people.