WASHINGTON — The Biden administration entered the White House with an eye toward relieving the strain of student loan debt, particularly amid the added financial burden of the coronavirus pandemic.
On day one in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order extending a pause student federal loan payments enacted by the previous administration as part of COVID relief. Progressive activists and lawmakers have urged the president to go further and cancel student loan debt, but he has said firmly that he does not believe he has the authority to do so by executive order.
That changed Thursday, when White House chief of staff Ron Klain said that Biden asked his education secretary to explore the president’s authority to cancel student loan debt, a sign he is open to moving left on the issue.
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Critics of student loan debt forgiveness, including conservatives and some liberals, argue that it would unfairly benefit higher-income earners with college educations, and that individuals who took out loans have a responsibility to pay them back, regardless of circumstance.
Biden’s push for student loan reform
Biden has thus far been hesitant to bypass Congress for such actions as canceling student loan debt. But since the…