Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., took to Twitter Monday to urge President Joe Biden to "act on student loans ASAP," adding that the president should use his executive authority to advance progressive causes like student debt forgiveness, climate change policy and immigration reform.
Her statements come after the president's signature Build Back Better social spending bill failed to gain the support of a key Democrat holdout, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The legislation needs all 50 Senate Democrats to vote "yes" in order to pass. Without Manchin's support, many Democratic priorities included in the bill, like expanded child tax credit (CTC) payments, climate change investments and health care protections, are stalled.
Ocasio-Cortez previously said on Twitter that it's "delusional to believe Dems can get re-elected" without acting on progressive issues that lawmakers campaigned on, such as canceling student debt.
Keep reading to learn more about the likelihood of Biden canceling student loans or extending federal forbearance using his executive authority. If you're not financially prepared to resume student loan payments in February, consider your alternative debt repayment options like refinancing. Browse student loan refi rates from real lenders in the table below, and visit Credible to see offers tailored to you.
Democrats press Biden to cancel student loans with executive action
AOC is joined by numerous prominent Democratic lawmakers in calling on the president to forgive student loan debt using executive authority. Fellow Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said on Twitter on Dec. 16 that "President Biden can cancel student debt with the stroke of a pen."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has also been outspoken on the issue, previously agreeing that the president has the power to enact student loan forgiveness "with the flick of a pen." Massachusetts lawmakers Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley also joined Schumer in a Dec. 8 letter, urging Biden to cancel up to $50,000 worth of student loan debt using an executive order.
However, not all Democrats are in agreement about Biden's ability to cancel student loans via executive action. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said that forgiving student debt "has to be an act of Congress."
But seeing as the Senate is struggling to pass the Build Back Better Act due to the lack of support among moderate Democrats and Republicans, it's not likely that Congress could enact debt forgiveness legislation. Therefore, some lawmakers may believe that presidential authority is the best way to provide student debt relief to their constituents.
One alternative way borrowers can make their student loan repayment more manageable is by refinancing to a lower rate. Keep in mind that refinancing your federal loans into a private student loan would make you ineligible for government benefits, including select student loan forgiveness programs. You can learn more about student loan refinancing by getting in touch with a knowledgeable loan officer at Credible.
Will Biden cancel student debt with an executive order?
Although Biden campaigned on widespread student loan cancellation as a presidential candidate, it's unclear whether he'll use his executive authority to make it happen.
The White House recently cast doubt on the scope of Biden's presidential powers. Press secretary Jen Psaki indicated during a Dec. 14 press conference that Biden is waiting on Congress to act on student debt forgiveness while the president's authority to cancel debt is "under review" by the Department of Education.
Psaki also confirmed that the student loan payment pause will not be extended and that federal student loan borrowers are expected to resume making payments in February. If you're not financially prepared for the end of forbearance, consider reducing your monthly payments by refinancing to a lower rate.
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