Canceling $50,000 in student debt would help Americans whose 'only sin was to be born into a family who couldn't write a check for them to go to school,' Elizabeth Warren says

Canceling $50,000 in student debt would help Americans whose 'only sin was to be born into a family who couldn't write a check for them to go to school,' Elizabeth Warren says
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks to a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren told MSNBC Biden should cancel student debt to help millions of Americans.
  • Calls like Warren's have increased over recent months as payments are set to resume on May 1.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has said it once, and she'll say it again: President Joe Biden can and should cancel student debt.

"Canceling $50,000 of student-loan debt would help tens of millions of Americans," Warren told MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan on Sunday, "people whose only sin was to be born into a family that couldn't write a check for them to go to school and who nonetheless got out there and tried to get an education."

Calls like Warren's have been amplified in recent months. Student-loan payments have been paused, with interest waived, for two years as part of pandemic relief. Biden extended that pause for his third time through May 1. That date is quickly approaching, and some lawmakers and advocates say that if Biden doesn't extend it for a fourth time, he should cancel student debt broadly before 43 million federal borrowers get thrown back into repayment.

There are signs that more relief may be coming. Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, suggested to "Pod Save America" two weeks ago that borrowers could expect some sort of student-debt relief before the expected payment-resumption date.

"The president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he'll extend the pause," Klain said, adding: "The question whether or not there's some executive action on student-debt forgiveness when payments resume is a decision we're going to take before payments resume."


More recently, Politico reported the Education Department directed student-loan companies to halt sending notices to borrowers regarding the payment-restart date, which suggested the department was preparing for a different, likely later, date to resume collecting student debt.

Still, Biden pledged during his campaign to approve $10,000 in student-debt cancellation for every borrower, and his silence on the issue has some voters frustrated. A student-loan borrower previously told Insider it was "upsetting" Biden had not yet fulfilled his promise.

"I would be shocked, and I'd be thrilled to go to the voting booth if they do do it," he said, referring to student-loan relief. "But right now, they need to earn my vote, and right now, they're not doing it."

Some Republican lawmakers have criticized the idea of more student-loan relief. A group of House Republicans recently called student-loan forgiveness "reckless" and "short-sighted," citing the cost the relief would have to taxpayers and the economy.

Warren has previously sounded the alarm on the effect failure to cancel student debt would have on elections, and she's not the only Democrat to do so.


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said in December it would be "actually delusional" to think Democrats could win an election without delivering on progressive priorities, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts told Insider that "the ultimate persuasion is impact, and Democrats win when we deliver bold, impactful policies that improve the daily lives of our constituents."