Pressure is growing on President Joe Biden to take action on student loan debt as the most recent moratorium approaches. Some Senate Democrats have made student-debt forgiveness a top domestic priority ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., met with labor leaders to recruit them for a wider strategy to press the administration to cancel at least a larger swath of student debt than Biden had signaled he may consider.

Schumer, who has pressed Biden to use his executive power to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt, dismissed arguments that frame this move as a free gift to the wealthy.

Schumer has shot down the notion as a "myth."

“Let’s dispel one awful myth right here: This is not a problem that concerns the wealthy or the Ivy League,” Schumer told labor leaders at the event. “All of these fat cats, and people who never want to see help for working people and poor people come up with these myths. It’s affecting working-class people."

Schumer's riposte was a veiled rebuke of Biden’s stated reasons for being reluctant to forgive student debt though he noted Biden’s mind was "open to this." Biden ordered the Education Department to examine his legal authority to cancel debts, but he openly signaled he felt the move would only benefit wealthier Americans.

“The idea that you go to [the University of Pennsylvania] and you’re paying a total of 70,000 bucks a year and the public should pay for that? I don’t agree,” Biden told New York Times columnist David Brooks in May 2021.

The comment was not fully supported by available data on federal student borrowers. According to NPR, less than 0.5% of nearly 15 million undergraduates are attending Ivy Leagues and many of them come from wealthier backgrounds that make them ineligible for federal financial aid. Students themselves at Harvard University rebuked Biden for this argument and accused him of using them as an excuse to not forgive student debt.

It has been reported that Biden is considering a possible cancellation of up to $10,000 per borrower of student debt, but the plan has yet to be publicly unveiled. Some activists and key Democratic-leaning interest groups panned the plan as insufficient for the task with the head of the NAACP likening it to a “slap in the face” to borrowers.

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