Dozens of Congressional Democrats have called on President Biden to provide an answer on whether he has the power to forgive a portion of student loan debts. They are demanding to see a legal memo that the administration has had since at least April but has yet to be made public.

On Tuesday, 85 Democrats in the Senate and the House signed on to a letter that requests the Biden administration turn over the legal memo as they amp up pressure on Biden to take action on student loans before the 2022 midterm elections. The letter urges Biden to do more to alleviate the burden placed on borrowers and their families by their student debt payments. 

“Publicly releasing the memo outlining your existing authority on canceling student debt and broadly doing so is crucial to making a meaningful difference in the lives of current students, borrowers, and their families,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, which was shared with Politico.

Biden had promised on the campaign trail to do more to address the student debt crisis by providing some assistance in paying off the estimated $1.6 trillion in repayments. Since coming to office, Biden has taken several actions to fulfill this promise by nullifying the debts of disabled students and those defrauded by for-profit colleges, but he has been reticent about doing more to address the much larger pile of debt held by student borrowers.

The memo sought by lawmakers was ordered in April 2021 and was later revealed in November following a Freedom of Information Act request. However, the memo itself arrived in a heavily redacted form by the nonprofit Debt Collective, so it remains unclear how the administration understands its power in this area.  

"We can and must provide this relief to millions of borrowers and their families," Ayanna Jayapal, D-Mass., posted on Twitter. 

Democrats are hoping to push Biden into action ideally before the current moratorium on student debt payments expires in May and ahead of the November elections. 

“In light of high Covid-19 case counts and corresponding economic disruptions, restarting student loan payments without this broad cancellation would be disastrous for millions of borrowers and their families,” the Democrats wrote in their letter.

The White House has said that the administration would continue examining options for debt repayments.