Vice President Kamala Harris reportedly backed out of appearing in a video with President Biden on student loan forgiveness, not wanting to become the public face of a matter on which the administration was unlikely to satisfy progressives.
In early April, Harris’ office began collaborating with Biden’s on a video promoting the extension of the student loan pause. Eventually Harris’ office decided against doing the video, two White House officials told Politico.
Biden then released his own video announcing the extension of the student loan repayment pause and Harris put out a written statement announcing the move.
Biden released a video on April 6: ‘I know folks were hit hard by this pandemic, and though we’ve come a long way in the last year we’re still recovering from the economic crisis it caused. This continued pause will help Americans breathe a little easier,’ he said. It is not clear if that was the video the Politico report was referring to.
Americans with federal student loan debt haven’t had to pay back loans since March 2020 of the Trump administration due to COVID-19. The pause now runs through at least August 31.
The last time they’d extended the pause in December, both appeared in a video.
Harris as a presidential candidate campaigned on canceling up to $20,000 in student debt, and privately supports the move.
One White House source said Harris’ office initially seemed eager to participate in the video but later became hesitant of becoming the public face on student loans, realizing that Biden was not going to cancel tens of thousands of student debt the way the progressive wing of his party had been pushing for.
Vice President Kamala Harris reportedly backed out of appearing in a video with President Biden on student loan forgiveness, not wanting to become the public face of a matter on which the administration was unlikely to satisfy progressives
Biden released a video on April 6: ‘I know folks were hit hard by this pandemic, and though we’ve come a long way in the last year we’re still recovering from the economic crisis it caused’
Some progressive members within Biden’s administration reportedly have pushed for him to acquiesce to the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who led 100 lawmakers in a letter asking Biden to use executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt for everyone.
But Biden has long resisted, worried about the message it might send to cancel student debt for high-income people who went to Ivy leagues and offering no benefit to those who didn’t go to college or paid off all of their loans.
The president said last week he’d use executive action to relieve some some of the $1.6 trillion in student debt held by roughly 43 million Americans.
‘I’m not considering $50,000 in debt reduction,’ Biden said last Thursday, rejecting Schumer and Warren’s calls. ‘But I am in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness.’
Biden also touted the reforms his administration has made so far, such as a slate of actions announced last week that would wipe out debt for an estimated 40,000 borrowers, according to the Education Department.
Biden has previously floated a figure of $10,000 per borrower, but said he would make a decision ‘in the next couple weeks.’
One White House source said Harris’ office initially seemed eager to participate in the video but later became hesitant of becoming the public face on student loans, realizing that Biden was not going to cancel tens of thousands of student debt the way the progressive wing of his party, such as AOC and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (left and right above) had been pushing for
While loan relief might be popular with federal student loan borrowers – many of whom have government loans with high interest rates – Republicans of all stripes are trying to sully the move with voters.
Christina Pushaw, outspoken press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said on Twitter Wednesday that student loan forgiveness ‘isn’t progressive.’
‘Student debt cancellation isn’t really a progressive policy at all if working class Americans are expected to fund it. It’s another massive upward wealth transfer. The only way it would be truly fair is if universities themselves had to fund it, alongside reforms to the system,’ Pushaw wrote.
The more moderate GOP Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted last week: ‘Desperate polls call for desperate measures: Dems consider forgiving trillions in student loans. Other bribe suggestions: Forgive auto loans? Forgive credit card debt? Forgive mortgages? And put a wealth tax on the super-rich to pay for it all. What could possibly go wrong?’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote in a tweet Wednesday that ‘debt cannot be ‘forgiven.’
‘It can only be transferred. Someone always has to pay,’ the California Republican said.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) claimed it would result in $13,000 of new debt for ‘every family in America.’
‘Why should those who didn’t go to college or responsibly paid their loans be responsible for $13,000 in new debt?’ Cotton wrote on Twitter.
Additionally, J.D. Vance, GOP nominee in the Ohio Senate race, also attacked student loan debt relief.
‘Forgiving student debt is a massive windfall to the rich, to the college educated, and most of all to the corrupt university administrators of America,’ Vance tweeted. ‘No bailouts for a corrupt system.’
‘Republicans must fight this with every ounce of our energy and power,’ Vance added.