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Black Lawmakers Urge Biden To Cancel Student Debt

The Congressional Black Caucus is calling on President Joe Biden to use his executive powers to enact “broad-based student loan debt cancellation,” saying doing so would help reduce the racial wealth gap.

In a statement Friday, the group of Black lawmakers described the $1.7 trillion student loan debt crisis as “a racial and economic justice issue disproportionately impacting Black communities.”

“Canceling student loan debt is one of the most impactful ways to address the ongoing economic and racial inequities plaguing our nation,” the CBC wrote.

“Nothing is off the table, except inaction,” said the lawmakers, who also asked to meet with Biden to discuss the matter.

The CBC did not include a specific amount of student debt that they recommended to be canceled.

Earlier this year, dozens of Democratic lawmakers, led by Massachusetts Democrats Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, urged the president to cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower.

Biden previously indicated he is “unlikely” to eliminate that much debt per person, but has expressed support for forgiving $10,000 of debt per person.

The administration has said the president will decide whether to cancel any amount of student debt before payments resume in August. (Federal student loan payments were paused amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and Biden has repeatedly extended this pause.)

Widespread loan forgiveness would make a significant dent in the racial wealth gap, as Black undergraduates are more likely than any other racial group to have to borrow money to pay for college, and Black students graduate with the greatest student loan debt of any group.

A Federal Reserve report in 2020 looked at American borrowers under age 40 who have student loan debt, and found that 26% of Black and 19% of Latinx borrowers had fallen behind on their loan payments, compared to just 7% of white borrowers.

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