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WH Chief of Staff Says Biden ls Looking Into Whether He Has the Legal Authority To Cancel Student Debt

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President Joe Biden is looking into whether he has the authority to take executive action to cancel federal student loan debt.

During an interview with Politico on Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said, “He asked his secretary of Education, who’s just been on the job a few weeks, once he got on the job to have his department prepare a memo on the president’s legal authority. And hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks.”

“And then he’ll look at that legal authority, he’ll look at the policy issues around that, and he’ll make a decision,” Klain added.

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Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have been pushing Biden to take executive action to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt unilaterally.

Warren argued, “When he does that, he will close the racial wealth gap between Blacks and whites who have student loan debt by 25 points, between Latinos and others by 25 points. There’s not a single thing he could do on his own in one fell swoop to make that kind of difference.”

However, during a town hall event in February, Biden said he would “not make” canceling $50,000 per borrower “happen.” Instead, he said, “I’m prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not [$50,000].”

He added that he does not believe that he has the authority to cancel student loan debt unilaterally.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the president would take executive action to cancel student debt if administration officials determined that he would take action to student loans.

She said Biden would “decide the path forward” once the review is completed. However, she said he would be happy to sign a bill to cancel student debt if Congress passed one.

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