17 Democratic Attorneys General Band Together Asking Congress, Biden To Cancel Student Debt

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
Font Size:

A group of 17 Democratic state attorneys general are calling on Congress and President Joe Biden to approve executive action forgiving a broad portion of outstanding federal student loan debt.

The attorneys general — led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey — wrote a letter to congressional leaders Friday urging them to pass Senate Resolution 46 and House Resolution 100, which call on Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt using executive action.

“The existing repayment system for Federal student loans provides insufficient opportunity for struggling borrowers to manage their debts or recover from the current economic crisis,” the attorneys general wrote.

“Broad cancellation of Federal student loan debt will provide immediate relief to millions who are struggling during this pandemic and recession, and give a much-needed boost to families and our economy.”

Student loan borrowers collectively owed a total of $1.7 trillion in debt at the end of last year, according to Federal Reserve data. The average amount of student loan debt per borrower is roughly $37,500 according to consumer credit reporting firm Experian.

The attorneys general noted in Friday’s letter that many borrowers had accumulated debt from “predatory for-profit colleges” and were facing additional roadblocks to paying back loans due to the coronavirus pandemic. The letter also claimed that racial minorities were disproportionately affected by student loan debt.

Signatories argued that the congressional resolutions calling for executive action “would help remedy predatory practices that have disproportionately harmed people of color, boost our struggling economy, and create a viable future for millions of Americans.”

The letter comes as progressive lawmakers and activists are increasing pressure on Biden to cancel large swaths of outstanding student loan debt, according to the Wall Street Journal. (RELATED: Joe Biden May Use Executive Action To Relieve Student Debt — Here’s What Experts Say Would Happen)

The president said during a CNN town hall Tuesday that he was willing to cancel up to $10,000 in outstanding debt but did not commit to the $50,000 proposal.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a press briefing Wednesday that Biden would sign a bill forgiving up to $10,000 of student loan debt if Congress passed such legislation. She added that the president was reviewing with the White House legal counsel and the Justice Department whether he could unilaterally cancel additional debt.