(The Hill) – Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told activists on Wednesday that President Biden and his senior advisers are warming up to the idea of forgiving student debt, insisting they are closer to pulling the trigger “than ever before.”
Schumer, who has repeatedly called for canceling up to $50,000 in student debt per borrower, predicted that’s where the president and his administration will ultimately land.
“I have talked personally to the president on this issue a whole bunch of times. I have told him that this is more important than just about anything else that he can do on his own,” he told the State of Student Debt Summit in a virtual event Wednesday.
“We’re making progress folks. We are making progress. The White House seems more open to it than ever before,” he said.
The Department of Education announced last week that it would extend the pause on federal student loan repayment, interest and collections through August.
But Schumer says that doesn’t go far enough and that that Biden is getting closer to agreeing with him.
“Don’t get me wrong, the pause is a good thing, but it ain’t enough. It ain’t close to enough,” he said.
He argued that families will face an average monthly student debt payment of $393 when the pause is lifted.
“That is so much money. How does anybody live knowing every month I got to pay this $400?” he said. “So the pause has stopped that, but make no mistake about it. This pause isn’t going to stay forever and the canceling of student debt is the way to go.”
Schumer said he has weighed in hard with Biden about the importance of canceling this type of debt.
“You get out of college and you have all this debt,” he said. “I have told the president this is one of the most important things he can do to help our economy. We all want the economy to grow. We all want people to have good lives, where you can provide for yourself and your family.”
Schumer signaled he would support canceling even more than $50,000 in student debt per borrower.
“We want our young people to realize that they can have a good future. One of the best, very best, top-of-the-list ways to do it is by canceling student debt, by getting rid of the $50,000, even going higher after that,” he said.
Biden has said he’s willing to cancel up to $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but he wants Congress to pass legislation to do so, which he would then sign.
The administration said last month that it would forgive about $6 billion in student loans through changes made to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
The administration has also forgiven the debts of students who say they were defrauded by for-profit colleges such as ITT Technical Institute and DeVry University.