KEY POINTS

  • Schumer urged Biden to forgive $50,000 student loans per person
  • At least 75% of American borrowers would benefit from the cancellation of student debt
  • There is a program that forgives student loans in exchange for public service

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday urged President-elect Joe Biden to make forgiving student loan debt his priority once he takes over the Oval Office on Jan. 20. 

Schumer, who spoke to reporters outside his office in Midtown Manhattan, said he believes Biden has the power to forgive $50,000 of debt “with a flick of a pen.” 

“We have come to the conclusion that President Biden can undo this debt, can forgive $50,000 of debt the first day he becomes president. You don’t need Congress. All you need is the flick of a pen,” he said. 

Schumer’s comment comes months after Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who ran for president, vowed to forgive student loans if she wins. She cited a letter written by the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School that said forgiving student loans was “lawful and permissible,” CNBC reported. 

“We have consulted the statutory and regulatory framework governing federal student loan programs administered by the Department of Education, as well as the framework and controlling interpretations of the budgetary structure of these programs,” the letter read. “We conclude that such broad or categorical debt cancellation would be a lawful and permissible exercise of the Secretary’s authority under existing law.” 

An op-ed co-authored by Sens. Warren and Schumer maintained that canceling student debts could help 75% of the country’s borrowers save or spend up to $300 each month. 

“With more money in their pockets and a smaller debt load, they can consider bigger purchases like cars and homes and, for some, start their own businesses. That’s good for the borrower and good for our economy,” the article read. 

Biden has yet to take a stance on whether he can forgive student debt without Congress. During a Nov. 16 press conference on his Economic Recovery Plan, he was pressed to discuss his plans about canceling student loan debt. While Biden did not share details, the incoming president said forgiving debts would be part of his plan, according to Rev.

“It does figure in my plan. I’ve laid it out in detail. It should be done immediately,” Biden said. “There is a program that exists now under the law that forgives student loans for being able to engage in public service. I’m going to institute that fundamental change in that so it’s able to be available to everyone, that in fact, is engaged.” JPMorgan Chase based its recommendations to the Biden administration on data from bank customers that showed a hit from the expiration of extra US unemployment benefits JPMorgan Chase based its recommendations to the Biden administration on data from bank customers that showed a hit from the expiration of extra US unemployment benefits Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / ALEX WONG