Canceling at least a portion of the nation’s $1.5 trillion in student debt is an element of the economic recovery plan he is working on, President-elect Joe Biden said Monday.
Biden, at a press conference at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Del., outlined that he will propose massive investments in areas like electric cars and clean energy, as well as aid for states and local governments struggling financially during the pandemic.
“It does figure in my plan,” Biden said when asked if debt cancellation is an element of his plan. Biden noted that during the campaign he supported a provision in the Democratic House’s COVID-19 relief bill, which would cancel $10,000 of debt for all borrowers.
“They’re in real trouble. They’re having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying their rent,” he said of borrowers; those with federal student loans were excused from making loan payments through the end of the year under an executive order President Trump signed in August.
Biden also mentioned other campaign pledges to make community colleges and historically Black colleges and universities free for all students, as well as eliminating tuition at public institutions for students whose families earn $125,000 or less.
Biden also noted that he pledged during the campaign to reform the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Nearly everyone applying for the program has been denied.
Others like Elizabeth Warren, a progressive Democratic senator from Massachusetts, have proposed canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million borrowers, which would cost $1 trillion.
On Sunday night Jason Furman, who served as President Obama’s chief economist and is being mentioned for a similar role in the Biden administration, cast doubt on the wisdom of widespread debt relief on Twitter.