President Joe Biden is calling on the secretary of education to weigh in on presidential legal authority to cancel student loan debt, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told Politico Thursday. Progressives in the Democratic party have pushed Biden hard to use executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt.
Canceling student loan debt was one of Biden's campaign promises, but with a cap of $10,000.
"Make loan forgiveness work for public servants by creating a new, simple program that offers $10,000 of undergraduate or graduate student debt relief for every year of national or community service, up to five years, and by fixing the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness program," Biden's campaign website reads.
Klain told Politico that Biden wants the Department of Education to prepare a memo on the president's legal authority. "And hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks. And then he’ll look at that legal authority, he’ll look at the policy issues around that, and he’ll make a decision," Klain reportedly said.
"Canceling $50,000 of student loan debt will provide a massive stimulus to our economy, help narrow the racial wealth gap, and take a huge burden off of millions of struggling families," tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., linking to a story about Klain's comments. "President Biden should use his authority to #CancelStudentDebt."
Dozens of congressional Democrats signed a resolution last month calling for $50,000 in student loan forgiveness using existing authority under the Higher Education Act. Biden has said he doesn't believe he has that authority.
Biden told a CNN Town Hall on Feb. 16 "I will not make that happen" when asked during a CNN Town Hall how he would increase his proposal for student loan debt forgiveness from $10,000 to $50,000.