Psaki: Federal Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Still 'On The Table'

The current freeze on student loan payments expires Aug. 31.

There’s hope yet for the Biden administration to take action on student loans.

During an appearance on “Pod Save America” over the weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told the podcast hosts that President Joe Biden is still considering taking some sort of executive action on student loan debt.

What, exactly, that might look like is still up in the air. It could include anything from extending the pandemic-related freeze on federal student loan payments to outright cancellation of some debt.

Psaki said the latter proposal is “still on the table,” but cautioned that the White House would prefer such a program come about legislatively instead of via the executive branch, where it could be overturned by court rulings or future administrations.

“Congress could send him a bill canceling $10,000 in student debt, and he’d sign it tomorrow,” said Psaki.

The student loan freeze is set to expire Aug. 31, so Biden will have to take action before then. It was first put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020 as an economic relief measure in response to the pandemic, and has been extended five times.

“We have to then decide whether it’s extended,” Psaki said. “Certainly, not having to pay back student loans ― nobody’s had to pay a dollar, a cent, anything in student loans ― since Joe Biden has been president.”

“If that can help people ease the burden of costs in other parts of their lives, that’s an important thing to consider,” she added. “That’s a big part of the consideration. So between now and Aug. 31, it’s either going to be extended or we’re going to make a decision, as [White House chief of staff Ron Klain] referenced, about canceling student debt.”

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