AOC swings at the White House for weighing only $10,000 in student debt relief: 'We can do better'

AOC swings at the White House for weighing only $10,000 in student debt relief: 'We can do better'
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • The White House will reportedly relieve $10,000 in student debt for borrowers making under $150,0000.

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that $10,000 in relief will anger both borrowers and opponents.

  • She said "we can do better." Advocacy groups are also calling for broad relief.

As President Joe Biden is reportedly poised to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning under $150,000, progressive groups and politicians have a message: It's not enough.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to lambast the amount of debt that the Biden administration is targeting, and how it intends to distribute it. She warned it may backfire on Biden by infuriating his opponents as well as borrowers who want more relief from crushing loans.

She wrote that $10,000 in means-tested forgiveness "is just enough to anger the people against it" — and "the people who need forgiveness the most."

"$10k relieves most the people who owe the least. What relief is there for the most desperate? For them, interest will undo that 10k fast. We can do better," the Democrat from New York wrote.

 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Biden appears to be coming closer to a final decision on his long-awaited student-loan forgiveness plans. He pledged on the campaign trail to approve $10,000 in relief for federal borrowers, and while many progressive lawmakers have been pushing him to cancel $50,000 — or even all — student debt, he appears to be sticking with a more modest and targeted amount.

There is political momentum for that amount: A Data for Progress/Rise poll of 2,066 voters in key battleground states found that 45% of them would be somewhat or much more likely to vote if the president were to cancel $10,000 for every federal borrower.

Republicans are betting the opposite, casting the pending move from Biden as a bailout for affluent college graduates that make up a key part of the Democratic base. Most in the GOP argue that student debt relief would be unfair to the working class.

"Why should a waitress who didn't attend college pay the student loan debt of a lawyer making $300,000?" Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas wrote on Twitter Friday.

But $10,000 in loan relief, as borrowers sit on $1.7 trillion of debt, has not only Ocasio-Cortez disappointed, but also 529 advocacy groups. On Friday, labor and advocacy groups signed on to a letter led by the Student Borrower Protection Center calling on the president to broadly cancel student debt.

"Cancellation will boost household wealth, increase small business formation, and provide much-needed economic relief during this historic period of inflation," the organizations, including the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the ACLU, wrote.

Just hours earlier, NAACP President Derrick Johnson slammed the idea of targeted debt relief at just $10,000, equating it to "pouring a bucket of ice water on a forest fire."

While placing an income cap on relief is intended to ensure any forgiveness would go to borrowers who need it the most, Democrats like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have pushed back on that argument, claiming most people who take out student debt are not wealthy.

"99.7% of borrowers did not get an Ivy League degree," Warren said during a recent Senate hearing. "Heck, 40% of them didn't get any degree at all. The majority of these loans are held by people with zero wealth. And Black borrowers are not just treading water trying to keep up with their payments – they're actually falling behind. "

Read the original article on Business Insider