Advocates are increasing the pressure on President Joe Biden to erase all federal student debt for millions of Americans, The Hill reported.
Some congressmen are concentrating on it as a major issue that could harm Democrats at the ballot box in the upcoming midterm elections if action on debt forgiveness is not taken.
Some advocates are optimistic that the White House will indeed take more action on the issue following yet another extension of the student loan repayment pause in response to record increases in coronavirus cases, especially since broad-based student loan forgiveness has gained support among Democrat leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Biden last extended the pause last month until May following heavy pressure from progressives and borrowers to forgo the previously set Jan. 31 date to lift the forbearance on student loans, according to the Hill.
However, advocates have urged Biden, who campaigned on forgiving at least $10,000 in federal student loans per person, to take a further step and use his executive power to unilaterally cancel student loan debt.
“I think the administration needs to engage more with Congress on this because I think there’s real concern,” Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Bob Casey told The Hill.
Thomas Gokey, an organizer with the Debt Collective, said that “pressure is mounting from all fronts. It’s mounting from grassroots; it’s mounting from the public; and it’s mounting from members of Congress. And the reality of the economy, the midterms, there are several pressures that are aligning. They really have to deliver.”
Sen. Raphael Warnock has backed calls by advocates for widespread student debt forgiveness as a way to help “address the racial wealth gap,” with data showing that borrowers of color, especially Black and Hispanic graduates, have a disproportionate burden.
The Georgia Democrat said that “if we were able to get some student debt forgiveness package, I think it would go a long way. I think it would be a huge lift on the personal economies of these borrowers, but it would be a tremendous lift to the economy.”