Biden’s stance highlights Democrats’ split over student loan cancellation
This argument is not only academic
President Joe Biden has said that $ 10,000 is the most he can do to write off student loan debt. On Wednesday, the Progressive Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer maintained calls for a loan forgiveness of up to $ 50,000 per student and said, “We will continue to fight.”
The dispute is the largest to have arisen within the party since it took control of the White House and both houses of Congress. “Canceling $ 50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers without a college degree and help stimulate the economy.” It’s time to act. We will continue to fight, ”said a joint statement from Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. They argue that Biden can make this happen by executive order, rather than asking Congress.
A CNN town hall audience member on Tuesday night told Biden that student debt is “crushing” his friends and that “we need at least $ 50,000 minimum” to cancel the loan. Biden replied, “I won’t make it.” The president suggested on Tuesday that there might be legal limits on how much he can forgive. He also questioned the logic of giving a break to graduates of prestigious private schools – “people who went to Harvard, Yale and Penn” – rather than “using that money to provide early education to young people. young children from disadvantaged backgrounds. “(See a transcript from the town hall.)
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that a legal review that will not begin until Merrick Garland is confirmed as attorney general will determine whether Biden has the power to overturn even 10,000 $ through executive action. She said Biden would be “eager to sign” a congressional bill for that amount. For relief over $ 10,000, she added, there should be considerations such as income.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx / Queens) rejected Biden’s argument against greater debt relief for graduates of high-end private schools. “Who cares what school someone went to? Entire generations of working class children have been encouraged to take on more debt under the guise of elitism. That’s wrong,” Ocasio tweeted. Cortez Wednesday. “Nowhere does it say we have to trade early childhood education for student loan cancellation. We can have both.
Biden, as mayor of Milwaukee on Tuesday, reiterated his support for the free community college and the free four-year public college for students from families earning $ 125,000 or less – proposals he brought forward during the election campaign.
He also extended the break triggered by the coronavirus pandemic on federal student loan payments and accrued interest until September, a temporary reprieve from the repayments crisis.
Trump: Rush and me and me
Former President Donald Trump ended nearly a month of televised silence on Wednesday by phoning Fox News to pay tribute to right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, who died aged 70 after a battle with lung cancer. From there, Trump slipped seamlessly to speak for himself.
“Rush thought we won, and so did I,” Trump exclaimed, echoing his false claims that the election was stolen from him. “I think we won a lot. And Rush thought we won.… A lot of other people think that way, but Rush felt it strongly.”
And then more on the scream that it was stolen: “I don’t think it could have happened to a Democrat. You would have had riots all over the place if it had happened to a Democrat.”
Was the riot on the US Capitol not enough?
Back on his relationship with Limbaugh: “I have a very beautiful weakness. I tend to like people who love me.”
Janison: McConnell as a survivor
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has established himself as Biden’s most important Republican opponent, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison. Trump’s insults and threats against McConnell from behind the scenes at Mar-a-Lago only strengthen the Kentucky senator’s new place in the power game.
Given that role, McConnell’s now famous public reshuffle in Trump’s second impeachment trial is easy to understand, even for those on both sides who do not forgive him. In voting to acquit Trump of inciting an insurgency, McConnell sided with the majority of his caucus, many of whom clearly had reason to fear a backlash if they voted otherwise. But in also condemning Trump’s conduct, McConnell said out loud what some of those members might have wished to say. Politics can be the art of cutting things both ways, and McConnell maintains a tight grip on partisan power.
By losing and then lying about it, Trump had likely cost Republicans a majority in the Senate. McConnell had no reason to continue to pretend to respect Trump, who appears poised to be as cynically divided within the GOP as he was across the country during his tenure.
A more pertinent question to come is how Schumer will manage to move the Biden agenda forward with a very slim majority. McConnell has no reason to downplay the extent to which his influence, in tandem with that of its members, survives in Trump’s absence.
Biden and Bibi break the ice
Four weeks after his inauguration, Biden had his first call as president with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Readings on both sides were positive, although there are potential cracks ahead, such as Biden’s interest in reviving the Iran nuclear deal.
The two leaders were described as having spoken for about an hour and having had a “very warm and friendly” call, referring to their personal ties and saying they would work together to “continue to strengthen the unshakeable alliance” between the two countries , according to an Israeli statement.
The White House reading said Biden highlighted support “for the recent normalization of relations between Israel and countries in the Arab and Muslim world” that has progressed under Trump.
Biden open to study of repairs
Biden’s White House is supporting the study of reparations for black Americans, spurring Democratic lawmakers who are renewing their efforts to create a commission on the issue amid stark racial disparities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic, a reported the Associated Press.
A House panel on Wednesday heard testimony about legislation that would create a commission to examine the history of slavery in the United States, as well as discriminatory government policies that affected former slaves and their descendants.
The commission would recommend ways to inform the American public of its findings and suggest appropriate remedies, including financial payments from the government to compensate descendants of slaves for years of unpaid labor by their ancestors.
Psaki said Biden would not wait for a study to address other issues arising from racism. “He understands that we don’t need a study to take action now against systemic racism, so he wants to take action within his own government in the meantime,” she said.
More news on the coronavirus
Read a summary of the latest regional pandemic developments in Long Island and beyond from Newsday’s reporting staff, written by Bart Jones. For a full list of Newsday’s coronavirus stories, click here.
What else is happening:
- CNN fact-checkers found that Biden made at least four statistical false statements during the network’s town hall event on Tuesday night. They concerned vaccinations against COVID-19, minimum wage, undocumented immigrants and the Chinese economy.
- A group of at least 20 Democrats Senators sent Biden a letter on Wednesday urging him to use his executive powers to expand voting rights protection and strengthen enforcement of campaign finance violations, The Washington Post reported.
- About a third of Americans military personnel refuse to receive COVID-19 vaccines when offered, Pentagon officials said Wednesday. Commanders scramble to smash internet rumors and find the right ground that will persuade troops to be shot.
- Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns are among the top contenders for U.S. ambassador to China, Bloomberg News reported.
- Biden hosted union leaders at an Oval Office meeting on Wednesday to discuss its $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief and recovery plan, which is on hold in Congress, and upcoming proposals to invest in the country’s infrastructure .
- The controlled implosion of a demolition crew turned to dust the old Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City on Wednesday. It was the first of the city’s three Trump casino hotels, all of which went bankrupt. (See images and video of the Atlantic City implosion.)