Biden reportedly told lawmakers he's looking for ways to forgive most federal student debt

Biden reportedly told lawmakers he's looking for ways to forgive most federal student debt
President Joe Biden speaks on Earth Day at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington, on April 22, 2022.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Biden told members of the Hispanic Caucus he's open to canceling some federal student debt broadly.
  • CBS News first reported the comments from the 90-minute meeting on Monday.

President Joe Biden appears to be going beyond his campaign pledge when it comes to student-loan forgiveness.

CBS News first reported on Tuesday that in a 90-minute Monday meeting with some members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Biden said he has asked his aides to explore options of broad forgiveness for federal loans, a lawmaker in attendance reportedly told the outlet.

"They're looking at different options on what they can do. On forgiving it entirely. That was our request," one of the lawmakers said, who requested to remain anonymous.

CBS later updated its story to clarify that Biden did not say anything about forgiving all student debt, but is open to going beyond his $10,000 loan forgiveness campaign pledge.

The Washington Post later confirmed that reporting — Rep. Tony Cardenas, one of the meeting attendees, told the Post Biden was "incredibly positive" about the idea of canceling at least $10,000 in student debt, and Rep. Darren Soto, another attendee, added that canceling student debt is something Biden would like to carry out sooner rather than later, but he wants to be sure doing so will not add to any inflationary pressures.


With Biden himself having been fairly quiet on what actions he will take on student debt, this could mark a significant step toward broad relief. Earlier this month, Biden extended the pause on student-loan payments, with waived interest, through August 31. He also announced a plan to return over 7 million borrowers in default to good standing. Since then, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted Biden will make a decision on canceling student debt before the pause expires, or he will extend the pause again, and Biden's latest comments are indicating progress toward that decision.

While Biden pledged on the campaign trail to approve $10,000 in student-loan forgiveness, Braxton Brewington, press secretary for the Debt Collective — the nation's first debtors union — told Insider that the "progressive answer to this crisis is to cancel all student debt."

"I think it would be really tough to go back on this," Brewington said. "The likelihood of cancellation has only improved with every pause extension... all of the stars are aligning to make this a real thing that's on the table."

Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for Biden to act on the growing $1.7 trillion crisis since he took office, and those calls are only ramping up as midterm elections are approaching. But Republican lawmakers continue to oppose broad relief. The Republicans on the House Education and Labor Committee slammed the "stupidity" of mass student-loan forgiveness on Twitter on Tuesday, having argued in the past that canceling debt will cost taxpayers and add to inflation.

But those pushing for forgiveness believe it's long past time Biden deliver on what he promised to voters.


"Full cancellation is President Biden's best bet at meaningfully stimulating the economy, narrowing the racial wealth gap, also delivering a political win before November," Brewington said.