Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for executive action on student loans

Congresswoman said Democrats are running out of time to pass meaningful legislation without Republican obstruction

Graig Graziosi
Friday 11 June 2021 20:10
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High school graduate rejects $40,000 and asks for it to be given to students going to community college
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Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called on Joe Biden to fulfil his campaign promise to address the $1.57bn of outstanding student loan debt in the US.

Despite campaigning on the proposal to forgive $10,000 of student debt per year, up to $50,000 per adult, Mr Biden has not only failed to fulfil that promise, but he has actively walked back his support.

Lawmakers pushed him to broadly forgive $50,000 in student debt to help Americans whose debt payments cannot keep up with the accruing interest, leaving them unable to buy homes, cars and in some cases get married or consider having children.

Now, rather than using executive action to forgive the $10,000 Mr Biden said he would support, he instead is insisting the bill be crafted and passed through Congress, which more or less ensures it will never see the light of day.

Student debt forgiveness has not been included in any of Mr Biden's major spending package proposals or in his proposed federal budget.

Numerous Democrats have called on Mr Biden to use his executive powers to cancel some amount of debt, including Ms Ocasio-Cortez.

"During the Obama admin, folks thought we'd have a 60 Dem majority for awhile. It lasted 4 months," she wrote on Twitter. "Dems are burning precious time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won't even vote for a Jan 6 commission. McConnell's plan is to run out the clock. It's a hustle. We need to move now."

Ms Ocasio-Cortez is not wrong; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he is "100 per cent" committed "to stopping" Mr Biden's administration from accomplishing its goals.

"We're confronted with severe challenges from a new administration, and a narrow majority of Democrats in the House and a 50-50 Senate to turn America into a socialist country, and that's 100 per cent of my focus," Mr McConnell said, dispelling any notion that Republicans are interested in negotiating with the Democrats.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez pointed out the Republicans' commitment to obstruction in a follow up tweet.

"Additionally, the Senate blockages make Biden's unwillingness to act on student loan debt – something can do *without* Congress but hasn't yet – all the more glaring," she wrote. "#CancelStudentDebt is 1 of the few, rare opportunities Biden has to go big w/o the Senate. He needs to take it."

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