Smart Chart: Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation Questioned From Left and Center

President Biden’s proposal to forgive up to $20,000 per borrower in student loan debt has faced criticism over both its cost and its legality. The President himself expressed doubts in 2021 that a president has the authority to unilaterally cancel debts, saying, “I don’t think I have the authority to do it by signing the pen.” But Biden’s legal team claims he now has this authority under the post-9/11 Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act, citing the COVID pandemic as a similar national emergency.

While much of the criticism of President Biden is from Republicans and conservative scholars, many thinkers on the left and center, including senior elected Democratic officials, have also questioned the constitutionality of the president unilaterally canceling student debt. They have also expressed concerns about the cost — estimated by the Congressional Budget Office as $400 billion over 10 years — and the potential impact on inflation.


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