Biden does not mention student debt crisis during State of the Union

Biden does not mention student debt crisis during State of the Union
  • Biden did not mention the student debt crisis during his first State of the Union address.
  • He mentioned other issues regarding college affordability, such as the increase in the Pell Grant price.
  • Blocking broad student loan relief, which is popular among voters, could hurt him at the polls.

President Joe Biden failed to mention the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis during his first State of the Union address, disappointing voters and advocates as the mid-election season -mandate is heating up.

During his speech Tuesday night, Biden covered a series of pressing issues facing Americans and the world today, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation and the minimum wage. And as tuition prices continue to rise across the country, Biden also outlined his plans to tackle college affordability, including increasing the maximum Pell Grant and directing more federal aid toward historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions.

But one of the most important ways some Democratic lawmakers and pundits say Biden can confront college affordability head-on is to write off student debt for every federal borrower — something the president has pledged to do. during his campaign – and he did not mention any plans to achieve this. pledge during his speech.

“45 million Americans with nearly $2 trillion in skyrocketing student debt heard the rhetoric — not the results — from President Biden tonight,” Debt Collective spokesperson Braxton Brewington told Insider. , the country’s leading debtors’ syndicate. “No member of Congress can block the cancellation of federal student debt through executive action, and so far Biden has failed to deliver on this key campaign promise, allowing imminent payments to crush families financially in a context of record inflation.”

“If Biden’s plan is to drive up family costs and inflation, he’s on track to do so on May 1 — the arbitrary date he plans to reactivate student debt repayment,” added Brewington.

Student loan payments have been on hold for nearly two years, and Biden just extended the pause for a third time, through May 1, as part of his pandemic relief measures. But while some advocates point to his continued extensions as a reason Biden can simply wipe out the student debt crisis altogether, Biden himself has been largely silent on the issue, and his State of the Union address doesn’t. was no different.

For example, during his first solo press conference of the year, Biden ignored a question about his campaign promises on student debt, and when reporters asked White House press secretary Jen PSAKI, if there was an update on general student loan relief, she has thrown at Congress repeatedly, saying Biden would be happy to sign a bill to cancel student debt — he won’t. simply would not by decree.

This lack of action on a major progressive issue casts uncertainty over the Democrats’ success at the polls in the upcoming midterm legislative elections in November. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in December it would be “actually delusional” to think Democrats could win an election if they failed to meet voter priorities, like loan relief students, and a voter told Insider last year that she changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Independent because she felt “betrayed” by Biden’s failure to implement relief major in student loans.

Recent polls also reflect voter support for continued, widespread student loan relief. A CNBC survey found that 57% of Americans want Biden to make student loan forgiveness a priority, and a recent Data for Progress poll found nearly two-thirds of voters support canceling some or all of the debt. student.

Despite Democratic pressure, the impact of broad student loan relief remains controversial. Republicans on the House Education and Labor Committee published a blog post ahead of Biden’s speech urging him against loan forgiveness, and they said it would be “reckless” and cost taxpayers.

Right now, 43 million federal student loan borrowers can expect to start paying their debt again in two months, and Biden has yet to indicate otherwise, even under pressure from his own party.

“The ultimate persuasion is impact, and Democrats win when we deliver bold, impactful policies that improve the everyday lives of our constituents,” Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley told Insider last month. “Cancelling student debt is one of those policies and shouldn’t be a partisan issue – it’s good policy, good policy, and it would change the lives of millions of people by boosting our economy, helping close the racial wealth gap and enabling people to buy homes, save for the future, and more.”

Robert P. Matthews