On Wednesday night, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on President Joe Biden to use his executive power to immediately cancel student loan repayments after the president signed an order extending an existing pause until at least the end of September.
‘OK now, let’s cancel them,’ the New York Democrat said tweeted in response to Biden’s order, which directs the Department of Education to freeze “federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0 percent.”
“Too many Americans are struggling to afford basic necessities and support their families,” the White House said in a statement. “They shouldn’t have to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table.”
While extending the payment freeze was a welcome move from Biden’s day one, progressives have long argued that the president has the legal power — and a moral obligation — to unilaterally write off the student loan debt that is burdening dozens. millions of Americans.
But last month, as Common dreams reported, Biden claimed it was “doubtful” the president could legally forgive student loan debt by executive order and said he was “unlikely to do so.” Instead of taking executive action, Biden has proposed canceling $10,000 of federal student debt per borrower through legislation.
Alexis Goldstein, Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, mentioned at the time that “it is simply not correct to say that the legal authority to cancel student debt by executive action is ‘questionable.'”
“The authority is clear, documented, and even the Trump administration has used executive authority to cancel student loan interest payments, twice,” Goldstein noted.
Just before Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, The Debt Collective syndicate spear the Biden Jubilee 100, an initiative that consists of “100 student debt strikers refusing to repay their student loans until President Biden cancels all student debt – which he has the power to do immediately!”
“Our communities are struggling amid the Covid pandemic,” reads The Debt Collective’s website. “Millions of us face eviction and food insecurity, while suffering from exploding medical costs, rising school fees, unpaid bills and the perpetual fear of disease. .Joe Biden and his administration must act immediately…And we’re going to get him to do it.”