Student loan debt cancelation: The latest decision Biden bides his time on
Advocates for total cancelation tell Supercreator that the uncertainty that’s resulted from Biden’s deliberations add an additional layer to the stress borrowers are already experiencing.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
We’re less than three weeks away from the deadline for a decision from President Joe Biden on if he’ll cancel some of the trillion dollars of collective student debt held by millions of borrowers or extend the pause on payments through the end of the year — or a combination of both.
White House officials have been careful not to get ahead of the president’s decision and advocates for total cancelation tell Supercreator that the uncertainty that’s resulted from Biden’s deliberations add an additional layer to the stress borrowers are already experiencing.
“This debt is something that stops people from being homes [and] from starting businesses,” a source familiar with the case House Democrats have made to the White House for full cancelation said to Supercreator. “Not having to make payments now is great. But if you wait, you’re not going to be able to buy the house if you’re wondering in six months if you’re going to have to start paying one-, two-, three-, four-hundred-dollar payments again when that money can go to a mortgage or something like that.”
White House officials this afternoon met virtually with activists and advocacy groups to hear the priorities on student debt relief. But Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday told reporters that a decision hasn’t been made yet on the pause or cancelation declined to comment on if the President by the end of the month will take action on debt cancelation or will simply announce an update on the pause on payments. There’s also no word on if the decision would impact borrowers who attended public and private institutions.
“The president understands how student loans could affect a family and how the pressure of that can really be a lot and put a lot of weight on a family’s purse or economic situation,” Jean-Pierre said. “So we understand that. He is going to make his decision on this and when he has something to say, we will share that.”
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden promised to cancel at least $10,000 in student loan debt if he won. And as I reported in April, there weren’t any explicit caveats to the commitment.
But after he assumed office, the White House moved the goalposts and said Biden would sign a bill from Congress into law that canceled the debt — instead of doing so by executive order because he was unsure he had the authority to do so.
Critics of cancelation argue that blanket forgiveness would benefit wealthy graduates who don’t need the relief and enrage Americans who either didn’t seek higher education or paid back their loans.
But the House Democratic source said that those claims exclude the overwhelming majority of Americans who didn’t attend an Ivy League school, the people with student loan debt who didn’t finish their degree and the millions of seniors that are carrying their own student loan debt for decades — or because they’ve absorbed it for their kids or grandkids.
“And we know that the majority of people who are impacted by federal student loan debt are Black and brown and are already struggling with the wealth gap and lower wages and pay inequality,” they said. “Any relief that we can give people right now is important so if that is right now an extension of the pause again, then that’s good. But even better is to cancel it and not have people in a situation where they’re wondering whether or not they’re going to have to start making payments again and they can actually plan their lives months and years from now.”
Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, believes there’s a political upside for President Biden and said that canceling student debt is the next step he can to add to a recent string of legislative wins, including the Inflation Reduction Act that passed the Senate last weekend and will be voted on by the House on Friday.
“Americans just saw what happens when Democrats pick a fight on their behalf instead of running away from a fight,” Green said in a statement. “[Biden] can continue this feeling of momentum and growing voter enthusiasm by canceling student debt this month before repayments restart in September.”
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CDC UPDATES ITS COVID GUIDANCE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new COVID-19 guidelines that indicate the virus is here to stay.
If you’re exposed to COVID-19, the CDC recommends you wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 5 instead of quarantining.
You should isolate from others — regardless of vaccination status — if you test positive for the virus or are sick and suspect that you have COVID-19 but haven’t received test results. (If your results are positive, follow the CDC’s full isolation recommendations. If your results are negative, you can end your isolation.
The CDC said that even though COVID-19 continues to ciruclate globally, the updated guidelines are in part due to the availability of tests, treatments and vaccines that significantly reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic.
The updates made no mention of Long COVID, the lingering symptoms that survivors of the virus experience, including neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory and mental health symptoms, months after their initial infection. Read the full updated guidelines
NEW FUNDS FOR SELECT INSTITUTIONS: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced that $5 million in funding is available to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions to invest in programs to support students who are close to graduation or temporarily withdrew from school during the pandemic.
The funds were announced during a summit that convened higher education leaders from colleges, systems and organizations across the country to discuss how to make education beyond high school more inclusive and affordable.
The department also announced its plans to extend for three years an initiative that provided more than 200 HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs access to resources and support services for students. The initiative was set to expire next month.
RAIMONDO ROOTS FOR CHIPS: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who played a pivotal role in securing the votes in Congress to pass the CHIPS Act that President Biden signed earlier this week, is featured in a new White House video promoting the law.
“Chips power everything in America,” she said in a slick 40-second spot published on the White House’s official Twitter page. “And that’s why we need to make them in America.”
The CHIPS Act will invest billions of dollars in US microchip manufacturing, research and development and workforce training to create resilient American supply chains that are less reliant on innovation from other countries like China. Watch the video
GAS DIPS BELOW $4: The average price of gas is below four bucks for the first time since March, according to the American Automobile Association.
Gas prices have dropped every day this summer — the almost one-dollar drop in 56 days represents the fastest decline in a decade. And American families with two cars are saving $110 a month, according to the White House.
A few caveats though: Gas is still higher than it was a year ago and the downtick is due in part to some Americans driving, which of course means fewer fill-ups.
But the lower prices at the pump also drove inflation to zero last month and offset painful spikes in food, rent and other everyday expenses, as I reported yesterday.
President Biden received criticism when gas prices were upwards of $5 not too long ago. So administration officials are making sure he gets props for the turnaround.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that a series of key actions — releasing one million barrels per day from the US’s emergency stockpile of crude oil, rallying other countries to release unprecedented amounts of oil and overseeing record-high domestic production — helped make this happen.
“More work remains but prices are coming down,” Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday. “And the president will continue to call on domestic and international oil producers to increase output so that they can continue to come down.”
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TODAY IN POLITICS
President Biden is on vacation at Kiswah Island in South Carolina and had no public events on his schedule.
Vice President Kamala Harris this afternoon participated in a press call about investments in broadband access for tribal lands. She is currently hosting a roundtable discussion with California state legislators and advocates to discuss reproductive health care.
The House and Senate are out.
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