High-Profile Lawyers Urge Biden to Forgive $50,000 of Student Loan Debt

Mandatory Credit: Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/UPI/Shutterstock (11736714c)US President Joe Biden speaks briefly to the media before departing the White House for a short visit with wounded veterans at Walter Reed Medical CenterPresident Biden departs White House for Walter Reed, Washington DC, USA - 29 Jan 2021.
JIM LO SCALZO/UPI/Shutterstock / JIM LO SCALZO/UPI/Shutterstock

A group of state Attorneys General sent a letter to Congress today, calling President Biden to cancel federal student loan debt, echoing the joint statement Sens. Warren and Schumer released yesterday.

See: Biden Refuses to Expand Student Loan Forgiveness
Find: Congress Wants Biden to Virtually Wipe Out Student Loan Debt – Here’s What He’s Doing Instead

The Attorneys General of Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin are asking the president to use executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for all federal student loan borrowers, according to their letter.

“Student loan borrowers were already struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Many borrowers already owed more than they originally borrowed,” they say in the letter. “As many as one in five federal student loan borrowers are in default. Many are unable to manage their debt due to disability, illness, or job loss. A growing number are senior citizens living on low fixed incomes. Struggling borrowers are unable to obtain meaningful relief in bankruptcy because under current law, federal student loans are not dischargeable except under extremely narrow circumstances.”

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See: Your Top Student Loan Debt Cancellation Questions Answered
Find: 9 Ways Student Debt Is Affecting Every Aspect of Americans’ Lives

The letter follows Biden’s remarks earlier this week that he would not agree to student loan forgiveness beyond the $10,000 his administration has proposed.

“I will not make that happen,” Biden said during a CNN town hall. “It depends on whether or not you go to a private university or public university…I went to a state school…But is that going to be forgiven, rather than use that money to provide for early education for young children who are — come from disadvantaged circumstances?” he said. “But here’s what I think: I think everyone — and I’ve been proposing this for four years — everyone should be able to go to community college for free…But I do think that, in this moment of economic pain and strain, that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, number one. And number two, I’m prepared to write off a $10,000 debt, but not 50.”

See: How Gen Z Plans to Avoid Student Loans
Find: 17 Tips for Baby Boomers to Tackle Their Student Debt

The AGs’ letter comes on the heels of a joint statement on student debt cancellation that Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released Wednesday. In the statement, both senators reiterate what they introduced in their resolution earlier this month — broadly cancel federal student loan debt.

“An ocean of student loan debt is holding back 43 million borrowers and disproportionately weighing down Black and Brown Americans. Cancelling $50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree, and help stimulate the economy. It’s time to act. We will keep fighting,” the senators said in the statement.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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