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“I’ll keep urging the president to take this important step. And I say to my colleagues, I think the president is moving in our direction,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “My talks with him and his staff have been very fruitful over the last little while and I am hopeful that he will do the right thing. We’re getting closer.”
The Biden administration extended the moratorium on federal student loan payments earlier this month through the end of August.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference about student debt outside the U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
More than 43 million Americans owe a total of about $1.75 trillion in student loan debt, a number that has nearly doubled in the past decade, according to the Department of Education.
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party started pressuring Biden in the first weeks of his presidency to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt, but Biden shot down their proposal last year.
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 14: On the second anniversary of the student loan payment pause, We, The 45M, use signs and projections outside of the U.S. Department of Education to celebrate the pause and ask Education Secretary Cardona to cancel student debt on March 1 (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We The 45 Million)
With Schumer’s optimism Wednesday though, the president could move on student debt ahead of the midterm elections later this year.
“The president has been considering and looking at options for how to provide more relief to students across the country,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
Republicans, meanwhile, have been united in their opposition to any student debt forgiveness.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington. A California man was arrested in Iowa last week as he was traveling to Washington D.C., after he was found with a “hit list” featuring Biden, former presidents and Dr. Anthony Fauci. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A group of GOP Senators introduced the Stop Reckless Student Loan Actions Act on Wednesday, which would end the suspension of repayments and prevent the president canceling student debt.
“The majority of Americans do not have college degrees,” Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Why should they be forced to pick up the tab for college degrees in the name of pandemic relief? This transfer of wealth is not a move to ‘advance equity,’ but rather a taxpayer handout to appease far-left activists.”