Progressives ramp up pressure on Biden to forgive student loan debt

'We gotta continue pushing for this until it happens,' Rep. Ilhan Omar said

Progressives are ramping up the pressure on President Biden to forgive student debt relief as Education Secretary Miguel Cardona investigates the administration's legal authority to cancel some of the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt.

"We gotta continue pushing for this until it happens. Thankful to our co-conspirators @AyannaPressley @SenSchumer and @ewarren for their efforts," Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., wrote on Twitter on Saturday. 

"Canceling student loan debt is a matter of racial, economic, and generational justice. Rep. Pressley, [Massachusetts Attorney General Maura] Healey and I are urging President Biden to act. #CancelStudentDebt," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said last week after holding a press conference on the issue.


"President Biden can cancel up to $50,000 of student loan debt for the American people with the stroke of a pen. Let’s make it happen. #CancelStudentDebt," Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter.

Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., joined in.

"Today would be a great day for President Biden and Vice President Harris to #CancelStudentDebt," Schumer wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

The White House said Biden does not support debt relief above $10,000 for all borrowers.

"The president does not favor $50,000 in student loan relief without limitation," a White House spokesperson told Fox News last week. 

Any debt relief above $10,000 would have to be targeted, "based on the borrower’s income, based on the kind of debt in question," the White House said. 

President Joe Biden speaks about the economy in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Joe Biden speaks about the economy in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP)

White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Politico Thursday that Cardona is preparing a report for the president on his legal authority to cancel student debt. 

"He asked his secretary of education, who’s just been on the job a few weeks, once he got on the job to have his department prepare a memo on the president’s legal authority, and hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks," Klain told Politico. "And then he’ll look at that legal authority, he’ll look at the policy issues around that, and he’ll make a decision."


The president campaigned on canceling up to $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but Democrats pushed him to raise that number to $50,000 in a resolution in February. The NAACP is one of the most recognizable groups teaming up with progressives to push for student debt cancellation. 

However, the plan may disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans, according to analysis by the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics. The study showed that erasing all student loan debt would distribute $192 billion to the top 20% of earners in the U.S., but just $29 billion to the bottom 20% of U.S. households.

Under a universal loan forgiveness program, the average individual among the top-earning borrowers would receive $5,944 in forgiveness, while those with the lowest incomes would receive $1,070 in forgiveness, according to the study.

Fox News' Paul Best and FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report.