Elizabeth Warren calls on Biden to cancel billions of dollars in student debt without help from Congress to aid the struggling US economy

ReutersSen. Elizabeth Warren.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Thursday called on President-elect Joe Biden to cancel a large portion of student debt without Congress.
  • “This is the single most effective executive action available for a massive economic stimulus,” she wrote in a tweet.
  • Warren and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined a plan in September that said the president had authority to cancel student debt by directing the education secretary to do so.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden should cancel a significant portion of student debt without Congress, arguing it could be a powerful economic stimulus measure.

“Biden-Harris can cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, giving tens of millions of Americans an immediate financial boost and helping to close the racial wealth gap,” the Massachusetts senator wrote in a tweet. “This is the single most effective executive action available for a massive economic stimulus.”

The tweet was one of several identifying executive actions that the incoming Biden administration could take on its own. Other measures she identified were:

  • Lower drug prices by using federal authority to bypass patents to produce drugs such as insulin.
  • Stronger workplace safety regulations.
  • A $US15 minimum wage for federal contractors.

Warren said in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday that the success of several progressive ballot initiatives such as the $US15 hourly wage in Florida indicated large swaths of the public back the measures.

“Bold policies to improve opportunity for all Americans are broadly popular,” she wrote. “Voters recognise that these reforms are necessary to fix what is broken in our nation.”

A pair of Senate runoff races in Georgia this January will decide which party controls the Senate. If Republicans maintain control of the chamber, it may be difficult for Biden to achieve many elements of his platform, such as tax increases for wealthy people and corporations. The prospect has raised concern among Democrats that Republicans could stymie Biden’s leadership next year.

Warren and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate minority leader, outlined a plan in September that said the president had the authority to cancel up to $US50,000 of student debt per borrower. Schumer indicated in a recent interview that the move could be part of Biden’s first 100 days in office.

During the Democratic primaries this year, Warren said she could use executive authority to begin cancelling student debt if she won the presidency. She cited an analysis from Harvard University researchers indicating the president could direct the education secretary to cancel student debt on “a broad or categorical basis.”

Biden has proposed forgiving $US10,000 in student debt for borrowers as part of a coronavirus relief package.

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