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DC Protest Calls On Biden To Cancel Student Debt

Washington, D.C. - Hundreds of people converged in Washington, D.C. on Monday for a national day of action to demand that the Biden administration cancel all outstanding federal student loan debt via executive order. "All it takes is a signature," said the Debt Collective, a debtors' union that organized the "Pick Up the Pen, Joe" demonstration, which was supported by a coalition that includes dozens of progressive advocacy groups and labor unions. Following speeches and performances in front of the Eisenhower Memorial, the crowd marched outside the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Monday's rally and march in the nation's capital had a simple message for President Joe Biden: Use your executive authority to wipe out the roughly $1.6 trillion in federal student debt that is holding back more than 45 million federal borrowers in the United States.

Debt Collective Day Of Action Urges Biden To Cancel Student Debt

The Debt Collective is upping the ante in their fight for full federal student debt cancellation with their Pick Up the Pen, Joe! rally and day of action today in front of the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. The event comes roughly a month before the pause on loan repayments is set to expire on May 1. Some White House sources have indicated the Biden administration may move that deadline again or forgive some amount of debt, but regardless, the Debt Collective’s focus remains squarely on eliminating federal student debt in full. A broad coalition of more than 50 community organizations and labor unions from across the country are joining the Debt Collective in the nation’s capital to call on Biden to cancel all federal student debt through executive order.

Returning Bankruptcy Protections Is Critical For Solving Student Debt

During the 1700’s, American colonists- including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris, and others- were being treated horribly under debt- typically to British banks, trading companies, and other investors. In fact, the issue of debt was so concerning to the nation’s Founders, that that in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, they call for uniform bankruptcy laws ahead of the power to raise an army, declare war, and coin currency. Congress, however, began chipping this protection away, uniquely, from student loans beginning in 1976 and continuing through 2005. Today, both federal and private student loans are essentially impossible to discharge in bankruptcy.

Biden Moves To Block Student Debt Victory

Despite increasing pressure to fulfill a campaign promise to forgive student debt, President Joe Biden is now going in the opposite direction: His administration has taken an initial step to try to overturn a key legal victory for borrowers, according to court filings reviewed by The Daily Poster. If the administration wins an appeal, it could bolster a legal precedent against millions of debtors being crushed by bankruptcy laws that Biden infamously helped his finance industry donors sculpt during his four decades in Washington. On January 14, a federal judge in Biden’s home state of Delaware moved to eliminate nearly $100,000 in student loan debt held by a 35-year-old epileptic man.

Student Debt Cancellation Is A Racial Justice Issue

With many of President Biden’s legislative priorities stalled, pressure is mounting on the administration to use executive authority to cancel student debts — a move that would substantially narrow racial wealth gaps. In a recent House floor speech, Rep. Ayanna Pressley pointed out that the student debt crisis disproportionately impacts the Black community. “But for too long,” Pressley said, “the narrative has excluded us and the unique ways in which this debt is exacerbating racial and economic inequities, compounding our gender and racial wealth gap.” Pressley joined Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer in a December letter to Biden asking that he consider using executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debts.
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