Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said that President Biden does not have the legal authority to unilaterally forgive federal student loans, breaking from fellow Democratic leaders.
During a Wednesday press conference, Pelosi argued that Biden can only delay or pause student loan debt by executive order, not cancel it entirely.
“He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power,” she said. “That would best be an act of Congress.”
Biden has faced steady pressure from progressive Democrats to wipe out up to $50,000 per borrower in federally held student debt through an executive order. While it’s not clear if Biden has the legal authority to do so, many prominent Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) argue that he does.
Schumer and other debt forgiveness proponents say Biden can forgive student loans under the same legal provision former President Trump used to delay loan payments and interest accrual in March 2020 at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump-appointed Justice Department officials determined then that the president can’t forgive student debt without an act of Congress, but Biden appointees could issue a differing analysis.
Biden had expressed skepticism about his power to wipe out student loans before taking office, but has opened the door to some form of debt forgiveness order since becoming president. The White House said in the spring it was re… (Read more)