Ideological cracks within the Democratic Party appeared to widen this week — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is once again involved.
Despite President Joe Biden campaigning on a platform that included student loan forgiveness and many progressives pressuring the White House to make good on that promise, Pelosi reportedly pushed back against such a plan this week.
“He does not have that power”
According to the Daily Caller, the speaker addressed the issue during a press conference on Wednesday, insisting that debt absolution is not within the president’s purview.
“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness,” Pelosi told reporters. “He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.”
Not everyone in her party agrees with that assessment, however. As The Hill reported, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) appeared alongside Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) to demand that Biden implement an executive order that forgives certain borrowers.
For her part, Warren called the issue “a matter of economic justice” and declared that Americans are living “with a sword hanging over their heads” because of student loans.
“And every day that goes by that sword draws a little closer,” she added, insisting that Biden “can remove this sword” and “prevent this pain.”
“Still in the midst of a pandemic”
Schumer sounded a similar note, backing Warren’s call to forgive up to $50,000 in college loans and citing the COVID-19 pandemic as justification.
“To make borrowers repay their debts now would be unfair, would be harsh, and in many instances would be cruel,” he declared. “People were thrown off their stride by COVID. Give them a chance to recover.”
Pressley agreed, insisting that people “should not be trying to decide between paying a student loan bill or whether or not they should be paying rent to remain safely housed while we are still in the midst of a pandemic.”
Biden campaigned on a pledge to forgive student loans, but he has subsequently distanced himself from any such plans.
In fact, he stated during a press conference in December that it would be “unlikely” for him to forgive student debt through executive action. In the months since then, however, he has faced mounting pressure from the left to do exactly that.