There is a segment of the Democratic Party — composed of largely progressives and opportunists — that is demanding President Joe Biden use his executive authority to wipe out a substantial swathe of student loan debt in the U.S. to the tune of over $1 trillion in total.
In a shock to those on the left, that plan has run into some unlikely opposition, however. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — of all people — is, oddly enough, echoing Republican talking points on the matter, according to reports.
The House speaker went rogue in a recent statement asserting that the president lacks the authority to unilaterally forgive student loan debt.
Instead, she said, only Congress can make such a move in a manner that would be fair to those who’ve already paid their debts or chose not to take on debt and instead entered the workforce without a degree.
Dems make their demads
That stunningly conservative argument from Speaker Pelosi came in response to a renewed push from a handful of Democratic senators and representatives who are demanding that President Biden, with the “flick of a pen,” erase up to $50,000 in debt per borrower, Politico reported.
That effort is being led in large part by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as well as several other Dem members of Congress, who all insist that the president does hold the authority to wipe out the student loan debt of tens of millions of Americans.
But while Biden had signaled an openness on the campaign trail to using executive authority to cover some student loan debt obligations, even he has balked at the $50,000 per borrower figure, and instead has suggested he’s willing to excuse up to $10,000 per borrower.
Pelosi said what?
Apparently, however, Speaker Pelosi doesn’t believe that President Biden has the power to even do that on his own. At least, that was the gist of her response to a reporter’s question on the subject during her weekly press conference last week.
“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not,” Pelosi said, according to a transcript from her office. “He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.”
The speaker went on to discuss what a debate in Congress might look like: “Do we use whatever money there is for the broadest base of support of the, those with — more people with even less debt, or fewer people with more debt? That’s a policy discussion.”
“But the difference between the President — the President can’t do it. So that’s not even a discussion,” Pelosi added. “Not everybody realizes that. But the President can only postpone, delay, but not forgive.”
In an unbelievable moment that could have easily been confused with a Republican’s remarks on the topic, Pelosi added later: “But even take it on top of that, suppose your family was not — your child just decided they want to — at this time, not want to go to college, but you’re paying taxes to forgive somebody else’s obligations. You may not be happy about that.”