President Biden said on Monday that he has “not yet” made up his mind on the amount of federal student loan debt he would seek to forgive as White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a final decision might not come until the end of August.
Biden had talked on the presidential campaign trail about reducing some $10,000 in student debt per borrower, but he has been under pressure from a number of Democratic lawmakers to go as high as $50,000.
The president has also been criticized by Republicans who characterize the loan forgiveness as a giveaway to wealthy parents who can afford to pay down their children’s debt — and also by those who question why taxpayers who don’t go to college should have to pay the debt of those who do.
At a White House event Monday to recognize federal civil service workers, Biden was asked if he is nearing a decision.
“Not yet,” he responded.
Psaki at the White House briefing later in the day was questioned about whether political pressure would speed up the timeline for Biden to make a determination and whether it would be fair to borrowers with limited financial resources.
“That’s the goal, right, is to make sure it’s targeted at people who need help the most,” she said.
She also said the administration is looking at the end of August when the latest debt forgiveness extension expires.
“What we conveyed is that is the timeline through which the pause on student debt is going through. So it was before that time, unless the President decided to extend it, a decision would be made,” she said.
Biden last week threw cold water on suggestions that he forgive up to $50,000 per student loan borrower.
“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction. I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction,” he said. “But I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness and I will have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”