Power to Cancel Student Loan Debt Rests with Congress

Power to Cancel Student Loan Debt Rests with Congress

07.30.21
Photo: Getty Images
07.30.21

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that President Joe Biden does not have the power to forgive student loan debt as the pressure grows on him to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.

Pelosi said student loan forgiveness would have to be done through Congress.

“People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not,” Pelosi said at her weekly news briefing. “He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power.”

Pelosi’s comments come after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley held an event calling for the president to extend the pause on federal student loan payments set to expire at the end of September as well as cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt. 

Schumer claimed Biden could use his “existing legal authority” to cancel that debt.

“With all this good, all President Biden has to do is flick his pen, sign it. Make America a happier, better, more prosperous place,” Schumer said Tuesday.

The White House has not revealed whether the president would cancel student loan debt. 

Student loan debt has surpassed $1.7 trillion in the United States, making it the second largest amount of debt owed by Americans behind mortgage debt, according to CBS News