House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has contradicted calls from the progressive left and even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urging President Joe Biden to cancel student loan debt, saying the president has no such power.
Fox Business cited Pelosi speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, July 28, saying that President Biden cannot unilaterally wipe away student loan debt, as that authority belongs to Congress. She even questioned the fairness of a debt forgiveness policy.
“People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not,” Pelosi said.
“He can postpone. He can delay, but he does not have that power,” she said, adding “That has to be an act of Congress.”
Pelosi’s comments were contrary to other senior members in her Democrat Party who have said otherwise.
Sen. Schumer has urged Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for all borrowers through his executive order.
“With the flick of a pen, President Biden could give a fresh start to tens of millions of borrowers drowning in debt,” Schumer said on Tuesday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and others have also repeatedly called on Biden to forgive federal student debt, which is estimated at more than $1.7 trillion.
According to CNBC, President Biden has asked the Department of Justice and the Department of Education to review his legal authority to forgive student debt.
He has also said he supports forgiving up to $10,000 of student debt per person, but he wants Congress to enact legislation to that effect, rather than cancelling it via executive action.
Schumer and Warren have called on Biden to extend the repayment moratorium until next spring and to give borrowers a break by erasing at least $50,000 in debt altogether.
At present, the Biden administration continues a Trump-era pause on most student loan repayments through Sept. 30.