President Joe Biden claims he will not use executive power to cancel mass student loan debt

Despite his campaign promises to ‘liberate all people from the burden of student loan debt,’ President Biden has recently said that he will not be using his executive power to cancel student loan debt.

During a Tuesday night CNN town hall meeting in Milwaukee, WI, President Joe Biden, when asked if he would use his authority to advance the plan proposed by Democrats earlier this month regarding the cancelation of mass student loan debts, said “I will not make this happen.” The Democrat’s plan, proposed earlier this month, was and is committed to a plan involving the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debts. However, Biden claimed that $50,000 was a dealbreaker, responding, “ I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating… I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50,000, because I don’t think I have the authority to do it.” 

Vocal Democrats who support the plan that would eliminate $50,000 in student loan debts, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA – D) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (NY – D), have been publicly critical of this perceived betrayal committed by Biden. Furthermore, Congressman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren have both refuted President Biden’s claim of ‘not having the authority to make it happen,’ insisting that the Higher Education Act of 1965. However, as noted in Title IV of the HEA of 1965, the act does not allow the President to bypass Congress in providing guaranteed government loans. 

Much of this debate regarding the cancellation of massive student loan debts is largely due to the rising price of college tuition. In the period from 1977 to 2021 the average price of college has risen 1,417.39%, all while the inflation rate has only caused the USD to decrease in value to 23.17% of what it was in 1977. With the rate of inflation and the price of tuition rising at non-linear patterns, many young people are arguing that the increasing need for them to take student loans to go to school is making it very difficult to succeed in America. 

However, many critics of the plan, like President Biden, argue that this plan merely ignores the problem by throwing money at it. They see this problem as deeper than the debt, arguing that they will have to reform the universities’ economies and lower the price of a college education before promising to pay it off. Additionally, critics like Biden have instead urged young people to attend public universities, where the tuition is much more affordable than it is at private universities. Biden has defended his stance on the plan, saying, “It depends on the idea that I say to a community, ‘I’m going to forgive the billions of dollars of debt for people who have gone to Harvard and Yale and Penn … Is that going to be forgiven, rather than use that money to provide for early education to provide for young children who come from disadvantaged circumstances?”




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