Progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) made a new pitch for student debt cancellation on Twitter Saturday, claiming that writing off the obligations would provide racial, gender and economic justice.
She has long argued for a federal cancellation of all U.S. student debt, and posted earlier in the week that it would work to “close the racial wealth gap.”
Political commentator Brad Polumbo responded to Jayapal’s Saturday tweet by writing that cancellation would be “a taxpayer bailout for affluent liberal voters.”
Reports indicate that Joe Biden is expected to continue the moratorium on federal student loan repayment through at least August 31. The pause on payments was initially put in place as an emergency relief measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student loan repayments had been scheduled to restart on May 1. After vocal demands from Democratic lawmakers, Biden decided to grant some more time to borrowers before payments are expected again.
House and Senate Democrats serving on education panels had requested that the moratorium be extended through at least the end of the year. They claimed that the ongoing economic difficulties justify the extension. Of course, an extension to the end of 2022 would take the pause beyond the midterm congressional elections in November.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month that the president has “not ruled out” using executive action to cancel federal student loan obligations on a “wide scale.”
Then during last Thursday’s appearance on the podcast “Pod Save America,’ Psaki said that between now and August 31, the moratorium will either be extended or “we’re going to make a decision about canceling student debt.”
She said that Biden’s “preference” is for Congress to enact legislation that would cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for every borrower. She said a federal law would be “more permanent” than executive action that might be overturned by the next Republican president.
Psaki also said that the economy under Biden is “very strong,” but at the same time said that if helping people avoid debt repayment would help people “ease the burden” it should be considered.
The Department of Education reports that a total of $1.6 trillion is currently owed by more than 43 million Americans in student debt held by the federal government. More than 7 million of those borrowers have defaulted on the loans, a status reached after 270 days of nonpayment.