Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wants an immediate $10,000 erasure of people’s student debt.
“Legislation passed by the Democratic House calls for immediate $10,000 forgiveness of student loans. It’s holding people up. They’re in real trouble. They’re having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent, those kinds of decisions,” Biden said during a press conference in Delaware on Monday.
“It should be done immediately.”
A person in Biden’s camp told Fox News that Biden was referring to congressional action, as opposed to potential executive action if Biden wins the presidency.
Biden’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.
One of the 15 policies listed in Biden’s COVID-19 response plan is forgiving $10,000 in student loans.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said earlier this month that a Biden White House should in its first 100 days erase $50,000 of student debt for each person, pointing to a proposal he put forth with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
“I have a proposal with Elizabeth Warren that the first $50,000 of debt be vanquished, and we believe that Joe Biden can do that with the pen as opposed to legislation,” Schumer told MSNBC analyst Anand Giridharadas.
Schumer said he envisioned Biden’s first 100 days looking like President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first few months in office. Student debt is related to income equality, he added.
Biden told reporters on Monday that student loan forgiveness does figure in his plan for boosting the economy.
“In addition to that, as you know, I think that everything from community college straight through to doubling Pell grants, to making sure that we have access to free education for anyone making under $125,000 for four years of college, and there is a program that exists now under the law that forgives student loans for being able to engage in public service,” he added. “I’m going to institute that fundamental change in that so it’s able to be available to everyone, that in fact, is engaged. It’s not being very well managed right now.”
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, outstanding student loan debt stood at $1.55 trillion as of the third quarter of this year. Some 44 million Americans had student loan debt, the bank said in 2018.
Republican President Donald Trump paused student loan payments and temporarily set interest rates to zero percent on March 20, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This relief has helped many students and parents retain financial stability. And many other Americans have continued to routinely pay down their student loan balances, to more quickly eliminate their loans in the long run,” Trump said in an update in August.
The president extended the actions until Dec. 31.
Emel Akan contributed to this report.