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Biden to review his authority to cancel student debt - WH

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The White House on Wednesday said President Joe Biden will ask the Department of Justice to review his legal authority to cancel student loan debt, adding the president does not favor $50,000 in student loan relief without limitation.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden believes relief above $10,000 should be targeted based on the borrower's income and the kind of debt in question.

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESWOMAN JEN PSAKI: "He said previously that relief above $10,000 should be targeted based on the borrower's income, based on the kind of debt in question - public schools versus private schools, undergraduate versus graduate, obviously there are a lot of considerations at play. What the president has told Senator Schumer and Warren is that once his team is in place at the Justice Department and they are not of course, they are not confirmed at this point, he will ask them to conduct a legal review of his authority to act by executive action in conjunction with a policy review from his Domestic Policy Council on how executive action debt relief, if any, should be targeted... And once that is concluded, he'll decide the path forward."

The day before at a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Biden shot down the proposal to eliminate $50,000 dollars in student debt that many prominent Democrats are pushing for, saying: "I will not make that happen.. My point is, I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating. I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50 [thousand], because I don't think I have the authority to do it."

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a statement that the administration does have "broad authority" to provide relief and added: "An ocean of student loan debt is holding back 43 million borrowers and disproportionately weighing down Black and Brown Americans. Canceling $50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree, and help stimulate the economy."

Video Transcript

- The White House, on Wednesday, said President Joe Biden will ask the Department of Justice to review his legal authority to cancel student loan debt, adding the president does not favor $50,000 in student loan relief without limitation. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden believes relief above $10,000 should be targeted based on the borrower's income and the kind of debt in question.

JEN PSAKI: He said previously that relief above $10,000 should be targeted based on the borrower's income, based on the kind of debt in question-- public schools versus private schools, graduate schools versus undergraduate. Obviously, there's a lot of considerations at play. What the president has told Senators Schumer and Warren is that once his team is in place at the Justice Department-- and they are not. Of course, they're not confirmed at this point-- he will ask them to conduct a legal review of his authority to act by executive action in conjunction with a policy review from his domestic policy council on his executive-- on how executive action debt relief, if any, should be targeted. And once that's concluded, he'll decide the path forward.

- The day before, at a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Biden shot down the proposal to eliminate $50,000 in student debt that many prominent Democrats are pushing for, saying, quote, "I will not make that happen. My point is, I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating. I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50,000 because I don't think I have the authority to do it."

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a statement that the administration does have broad authority to provide relief and added, quote, "an ocean of student loan debt is holding back 43 million borrowers and disproportionately weighing down Black and brown Americans. Canceling $50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap and benefit the 40% of borrowers who do not have a college degree and help stimulate the economy."