Several prominent Democrats are continuing to push President Biden on canceling student debt, shortly after the administration extended a payment deadline for borrowers.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Democrat, said Mr. Biden has the authority to cancel federal student debt outright.
“Student debt cancellation is good policy AND good politics,” Ms. Pressley tweeted on Tuesday. The president “has the authority to #cancelstudentdebt and he must use it.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat and fellow member of the far-left ‘Squad,’ joined in on encouraging Mr. Biden to make the move.
“Now would be a good time to cancel student debt,” Ms. Omar tweeted while tagging the president’s official @POTUS account.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, shared a story in a Twitter video of a borrower named Kate, urging the administration to cancel debt up to $50,000.
“President Biden can do this all by himself,” Ms. Warren said.
Mr. Biden announced last week that he would extend the federal pause on student loan repayments through May.
The repayments, which were paused in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, were scheduled to begin again in January 2022.
“We know that millions of student loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payments,” Mr. Biden said.
The president pledged that the Education Department will work on repayment plans with those who took out loans, but encouraged borrowers to also seek their own solutions such as looking into public service forgiveness plans.
As of March 2021, student loan borrowers owe more than $1.6 trillion in federal and private student loan debt, according to the U.S. Education Department.
Democrats have long pushed Mr. Biden to take the lead on canceling federal student debt completely.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the Washington Democrat who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, praised Mr. Biden for extending the pause, but asked the president to go further.
“Extending the student loan payment pause was a great first step, but it’s NOT enough,” Ms. Jayapal tweeted. Mr. Biden “must use his executive power to cancel at least $50k of student debt for more than 42 million Americans.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent who has long campaigned on ending student debt, echoed the call.
“No, getting an education should not mean that you are burdened for life with student loan debt,” he said. “Yes, the time is now to cancel all $1.86 trillion of student debt in this country.”
Republicans, meanwhile, remain opposed to student debt forgiveness, which they see as a further expansion of federal welfare and government dependence.
“There’s no free lunch,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican. “Not requiring student loan repayment means the majority of Americans who paid their debt or never took loans will get stuck with a trillion-dollar tab.”