President Biden is considering plans to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower, a move that may win support among young voters but could alienate fiscal moderates.
The new White House plan would call for the debt to be canceled by executive order without congressional approval, a route Biden has been skeptical about in the past.
About 97 percent of the nation’s 41 million student loan borrowers would be eligible, with only those making more than $150,000 a year missing out according to The Washington Post.
Biden had hoped to announce the windfall as soon as this weekend but the Texas school massacre changed those plans.
Administration officials are also considering simultaneously lifting a moratorium on interest and debt repayments for all student loan borrowers that’s been in effect since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
The decision caps a long period of internal debate about student loan forgiveness including how much to write off and how to enact it.
Biden is looking for ways to keep the economic recovery humming amid growing storm clouds and political gridlock.
He hoped to include student loan relief in his signature Build Back Better economic plan. But that plan, which needed the support of all 50 Senate Democrats to pass, was effectively killed by the opposition of moderate West Virginian Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin.
Moderates in both parties oppose the move as a budget-busting giveaway.
The president has occasionally sounded skeptical about the worthiness of the idea of canceling student loan debt. Political advisers have pushed the measure as an important measure to reverse his plunging approval ratings.
Biden’s approval ratings have dropped precipitously in recent months and Democrats are facing the prospect of a midterms blow out if he doesn’t turn them around soon.
On April 28, Biden said he would make a decision on student debt in the “next couple of weeks,” a timeline that has obviously slipped.
The move would fulfill a 2020 campaign promise to write off at least $10,000 in student loan debt.
Liberals want Biden to go much further, saying all student loan debt should be scrapped or interest eliminated.
Democrats and progressives say the move is a no-brainer in part because the massive student loan debt burden stifles spending by young people.
Conservatives denounce the move as an expensive giveaway that would mostly benefit affluent college graduates.
Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News