With just 10 days until a moratorium on federal student loan payments is set to expire, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Sunday that “within the next week or so” the American people will hear from the Biden administration about any future action it will take to address the debt crisis.
Cardona’s comments to NBC News‘ Chuck Todd at the end of a “Meet the Press” interview that mostly focused on the nation’s teacher shortage came as campaigners and progressives in Congress are ramping up pressure on President Joe Biden to support sweeping debt cancellation for all federal borrowers—not just those who make under a certain annual income.
“We know August 31 is a date that many people are waiting to hear something from,” he said, noting when the pandemic-related payment pause could end. “We’ve been talking daily about this, and I can tell you that the American people will hear within the next week or so from the president and Department of Education about what we’re going to be doing around that.”
WATCH: The federal student loan moratorium is scheduled to end Aug. 31. Education @SecCardona says Americans can expect to hear an update on the Biden administration's plans in the next week or so.— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 21, 2022
"We know August 31 is a date many people are waiting to hear something from." pic.twitter.com/cyYYRkApbh
Meanwhile, activists and lawmakers who support bold student debt cancellation came out on Sunday with fresh calls directed at Biden—who, unlike some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, ran on only canceling $10,000 per borrower.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) pointed out that “student debt cancellation will help reduce the racial wealth gap by nearly 30% and help millions of Black and brown folks build generational wealth.”
“This is a racial and economic justice issue, and [the president} must #CancelStudentDebt,” she said.
“Of the 45 million Americans who hold student debt, 1 in 5 are over 50 years old…in an era of declining wages and rising debt, Americans are not aging out of their student loans—they are aging into them.”— Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (@RepGonzalez) August 20, 2022
@potus it is time to #CancelStudentDebthttps://t.co/jWwbI0U0tL
The Debt Collective highlighted the impact that Biden’s debt cancellation decision could have on the November midterm elections, in which Democrats could lose control of Congress after two years of struggling to advance progressive priorities due in part to the party’s narrow majorities and the filibuster.
“Has anyone considered that maybe we should look at student debt cancellation as a policy that will simply help Democrats keep/expand their majority?” the group said. “And that the alternative is, not to be dramatic, ecological destruction and the collapse of democracy.”
It’s time to cancel student loan debt. https://t.co/Dt8aYVs93g— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) August 21, 2022
“I went to a college that cost $50 a semester and had the opportunity to follow my dreams. But too many people don’t have that opportunity today,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “It’s time to fix our broken student loan system and #CancelStudentDebt.”