At her press conference last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked a question about the Biden administration’s policy on the issue of student loan debt forgiveness. As we on the Left have long known, neither Biden nor Democratic leadership have any real interest in forgiving student loan debt, and so it wouldn’t have come as much surprise to see Pelosi dodge the question by muttering a stream of meaningless, meandering gobbledygook.
Instead, Pelosi began her response by dishonestly denying that Biden himself has the authority to forgive student loans, stating that “People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.”
Activist Jen Perelman was quick to point out the dishonesty of this statement, tweeting the following:
No Speaker Pelosi, President Biden DOES have the authority to cancel student debt.— Jen Perelman (@JenChangeFL) July 28, 2021
Via the 1965 Higher Education Act, authorizes the Education Secretary to "enforce, pay, compromise, waive, or release" student loans.
This dishonesty must be called out. pic.twitter.com/6pTu0vDEz3
More shockingly, however, Pelosi, after denying that Biden could cancel student loans unilaterally, she essentially made the case that he probably wouldn’t even if he could. She continued, “On top of that, suppose your child decided at this time that they didn’t want to go to college, but you’re paying taxes to forgive somebody else’s obligations. You may not be happy about that.”
Nancy Pelosi makes a Republican argument against canceling student debt, despite debt cancelation significantly helping black students- who accrue more college debt and are more likely to end up in default. Exceeding expectations. pic.twitter.com/mL5f8BScSd— Prof Zenkus (@anthonyzenkus) July 29, 2021
As pointed out in the above Tweet, this is as right wing an argument as they come. After all, “paying taxes to forgive other people’s obligations” is what makes all social welfare programs possible in the first place. Without it, there’s no Medicare, Medicaid, or public schools - all programs Democrats seem keen to defend against “Republican attacks.”
Once again, inaction on student debt forgiveness is hardly surprising. Broken promises are par for the course with any Democratic administration. That they would not want to betray the financial institutions that fund their campaigns by implementing this policy which enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support is as predictable as it is despicable. But the brazenness with which the Speaker of the House, one year outside what is sure to be an extremely difficult midterm election, shut down any hope of such action, is a wonder to behold.
We discuss this and more on episode 115 of the Due Dissidence podcast. To hear our full conversation, click the player below (student debt forgiveness discussion begins at 12:30):
Photo: Gage Skidmore