November 19, 2020
A coalition of 236 mostly progressive groups, including close allies like the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, called on the president-elect on Wednesday to cancel student debt using his executive powers on the first day he takes office.
In a letter to Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the groups did not specify how much debt they’re asking to be canceled. But they noted that Biden pledged during the campaign to cancel $10,000 of each borrowers’ debt “immediately” as part of his response to the coronavirus epidemic.
“Before the COVID-19 public health crisis began, student debt was already a drag on the national economy, weighing heaviest on Black and Latinx communities, as well as women. That weight is likely to be exponentially magnified given the disproportionate toll that COVID-19 is taking on both the health and economic security of people of color and women,” the groups wrote, saying “bold action is needed.”
However, when asked about dealing with the issue through an executive order, Biden and his campaign’s national policy director have stopped short of vowing to act alone and instead mentioned the more tortuous path of going through Congress.