The Congressional Black Caucus calls for 'broad-based' student debt cancellation as Biden inches closer to a decision

The Congressional Black Caucus calls for 'broad-based' student debt cancellation as Biden inches closer to a decision
Standing with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, caucus chair Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) speak to reporters about voting rights outside of the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on January 19, 2022 in Washington, DCDrew Angerer/Getty Images
  • The CBC is seeking to meet with Biden as he decides how much student debt to cancel.
  • The powerful group is seeking "broad-based" debt cancellation without specifying a figure.

The Congressional Black Caucus joined the chorus of voices calling on President Joe Biden to cancel student debt.

In a statement issued Friday, CBC chair Rep. Joyce Beatty urged the White House to take action on "broad-based student debt cancellation." The group did not specify an amount.

"We are committed to working with the Administration to explore all options and we are requesting to meet with the President," Beatty said in a statement.

"In order to reduce the racial wealth gap and advance a just and equitable economic recovery for all, we must alleviate the burden of student debt," she said. "Nothing is off the table, except inaction."

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, another member of the CBC, supported its message to Biden in a statement on Friday saying that "our communities have waited long enough for relief," and President of the NAACP Derrick Johnson said in a statement that "student debt is a plague, it is a virus that shackles Black Americans."


"It has devastated families and roadblocked opportunities for countless Black Americans," Johnson said. "President Biden alone can do the right thing for the Black community. To help free Black borrowers, President Biden must cancel $50,000 in student debt."

This comes after the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with Biden last month, and builds on the message from many Democratic lawmakers that canceling student debt will amplify racial justice in the country. Recent data from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's office, for example, found $10,000 in relief would wipe out balances for 2 million Black borrowers, and $50,000 in relief would reduce the share of Black people with student debt from 24% to 6%, narrowing the Black-white gap.

The White House closed the door on erasing $50,000 amount in student debt, signaling it would instead be closer to the president's original campaign pledge of providing $10,000 in debt relief. But other Democrats are raising the pressure on Biden to cancel $50,000 per borrower as he inches closer towards a decision.

Those include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia.

The trio of Democrats recently met with Biden in the White House on Wednesday afternoon to make their case. Warnock, another Black lawmaker, faces a difficult re-election campaign in Georgia.


"My message is that we need to do student debt cancellation and we can do it soon enough," Warnock said on Tuesday. "And it needs to be large and significant enough to make a difference in the lives of hardworking Georgia families."

Editor's note: A previous version of this article attributed the NAACP president's statement to Rep. Beatty.