President Joe Biden indicated that his administration is open to further action on student debt relief in a meeting Monday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, according to a report from The Washington Post.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the president’s comments in a briefing Tuesday, stating that he “is looking at other executive authority options he has to bring relief to people who have student loans” and will make a decision before the current pause on loans ends Aug. 31.
During Monday’s meeting, the president was asked by Rep. Tony Cárdenas to extend the current moratorium on loan payments, as well as cancel $10,000 worth of student loans per person via executive order, the report says. He was “incredibly positive” to the suggestions, Rep. Cardenas told the Post. Biden also implied that he wanted take action sooner rather than later to cancel some student loan debt when pressed by other lawmakers, the Post reported.
There is a total of $1.75 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the US, a number that has more than tripled in the last 15 years. This is the sixth time the moratorium on payments has been extended since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last three of which were ordered by the Biden administration.
The expanded moratorium on loan payments is helping 41 million Americans save a collective $5 billion, according to the Department of Education. Over the past year, the Biden administration has taken other actions to help borrowers, such as amending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to correct “historic failures” experienced by some borrowers, many of whom should have had their loans forgiven already but in many cases never received any debt relief.
Monday’s meeting with Democratic lawmakers signaled that the president is ready to head down a path to further student loan forgiveness, telling those present at the meeting they would be “very happy” with what he planned to do next, according to the Post.
The White House did immediately respond to a request for comment.