FLASHBACK: Nancy Pelosi Says Presidents Don't Have The Power To Forgive Student Loans

FLASHBACK: Nancy Pelosi Says Presidents Don't Have The Power To Forgive Student Loans

President Biden announced the forgiveness of an additional $5 billion in student loan debt for 74,000 individuals using existing government programs, despite it having been made clear in the past that this was impossible.

In July 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted during a press conference that the president does not have the power to forgive student loan debt.

“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness,” Pelosi began. “He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power.”

“That has to be an act of Congress,” she continued, adding, “I don’t even like to call it forgiveness because that implies a transgression. It’s not to be forgiven, just freeing people from those obligations.”

“The President can’t do it, so that’s not even a discussion,” Pelosi added, noting that, “Not everybody realizes that.”

This move is part of Biden’s ongoing efforts to address student loan debt after the Supreme Court rejected his broader plan to forgive $430 billion in college debt last year. The latest forgiveness brings the total post-ruling loan relief to approximately $137 billion.

Unlike the previously struck down plan, the current actions rely on the implementation of laws that have garnered bipartisan support.

Among the beneficiaries are 44,000 teachers, nurses, firefighters, and others who have worked in public service for a decade, qualifying for forgiveness under a 2007 law signed by former Republican President George W. Bush. An additional 30,000 individuals will have their debt forgiven due to their participation in income-driven repayment plans over a 20-year period, which cap expenses as a percentage of earnings.

Biden emphasized his commitment to utilizing every available tool to provide relief to student loan borrowers, stating that he won’t back down from this goal.

The abandoned forgiveness plan, which sought to wipe out $10,000 or $20,000 from each borrower’s federal balances, was criticized as a political stunt and faced legal challenges.

Republican critics of Biden’s emphasis on loan forgiveness advocate for measures to curb the growth of college expenses as a means of reducing the overall burden of student debt.

The latest move is seen as part of Biden’s strategy to fulfill a campaign promise and garner support as he approaches the upcoming election.

Critics have raised questions about Biden’s personal ties to the education sector, including his paid role as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and his selection of Penn president Amy Gutmann as the US ambassador to Germany.


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