'I’m going to get in trouble for saying this': President-elect Biden disputes Democratic debt cancellation plan
President-elect Joe Biden questioned a popular Democratic idea that took executive action to reduce up to $ 50,000 in student loan debt for some 43 million American borrowers.
"I'll get in trouble if I say this," Biden told a news columnist meeting Wednesday, making the democratic argument that "the president could have executive power to cancel up to $ 50,000 in student debt. Well, me think that's pretty questionable. I'm not sure about that. I probably wouldn't do that. "
When Biden unveiled his candidate for Education Secretary Miguel Cardona earlier this week, he declared his support for $ 10,000 general debt relief - through laws passed by Congress.
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"It's a balancing act, but I'm optimistic that we can do a lot of things that I would like to do," said Biden on Wednesday. "I have spent most of my career arguing against the imperial presidency. We have three branches of government alike. I am confident that there are a number of areas that are so significant that they go beyond the partisan lines."
President-elect Joe Biden will announce Miguel Cardona as his candidate for Secretary of Education at the Queen Theater on December 23, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Joshua Roberts / Getty Images)
"Terminate existing student loan debts under a specific legal authority"
Consumer advocates and several Democrats - including Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) - have repeatedly called on Biden to take executive action Debt Relief for Students.
"President Biden can undo this debt - cancel $ 50,000 in [student] debt - the first day he becomes president," Schumer said. “You don't need a congress. All you need is a pen. "
A new member of the new Biden government's National Economic Council, longtime Warren advisor Bharat Ramamurti, previously also spoke out in favor of the president's authority to reduce debt.
The basic argument, as put forward by Harvard Law School's Legal Services Center to Senator Warren, is that the Secretary of Education has the power to “cancel existing student loan debt under a certain legal authority - the authority to amend existing loans that are in 20 US states have been found. Section 1082 (a) (4). "
Other experts believe the argument is flawed and would not survive legal challenges.
Sens. Schumer and Warren's offices did not respond to requests for Biden's latest comments.
Responding to Biden's comments, some observers noted that President Trump's executive action to impose a moratorium on interest and payments on government-held student loan debt in the context of the coronavirus pandemic was an indication of how executive power can be used to guide the law .
Student debt relief is a popular idea: A new series of national surveys made exclusively available to Yahoo Finance shows that more than half of Americans across the policy spectrum support government action to address the student loan crisis, including 1, $ 55 trillion is in student debt as of Q3 2020.
Aarthi is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.
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