US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that people who think President Joe Biden can forgive students their debts are misguided.
“The president can’t do that,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “It’s not even that it can be discussed.”
Pelosi said any student debt relief would have to be enforced by Congress, but other people in her party say otherwise.
Of the bygones
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ayanna Pressley have repeatedly called on Biden to forgive $50,000 of federal student debt for all borrowers through executive action. “All you need is the flick of a pen,” Schumer said.
Biden has asked the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to review his legal authority to cancel student debt and these agencies have not announced anything new about the issue.
“They are likely to come to the same conclusion as House Speaker Pelosi,” said higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.
Even if Biden does not move to cancel the debt, Congress can still do so.
Given their slim majority, Democrats may find it difficult to pass legislation that forgives student loans, but they can include this bill in the budget reconciliation process in the fall, an approach that does not require Republican support.