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July 29, 2021

Pressley Reaffirms President’s Authority—and the Urgency—to Cancel Student Debt

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement reaffirming President Biden’s authority—and the urgency—to cancel student loan debt.

“President Biden has the authority to cancel student loan debt. He has already used that authority to cancel the debt of students defrauded by for-profit colleges, and he has used it to cancel the interest on federal student loans for borrowers across the country.

“Student debt cancellation is a racial and economic justice issue and President Biden should act.”

Earlier this year, Congresswoman Pressley, Senator Warren, and Majority Leader Schumer led their colleagues in reintroducing their bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for Federal student loan borrowers.

Last month, Rep. Pressley, Sen. Warren and Majority Leader Schumer led their colleagues on a bicameral letter to President Biden calling on him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments until at least March 31, 2022, and yesterday they held a press conference yesterday to reiterate those calls.

Section 432(a) of the Higher Education Act grants the Secretary of Education legal authority to broadly cancel student loan debt owed to the federal government. The Harvard Law Project on Predatory Lending concluded in this memo that broad student debt cancellation is a lawful and permissible exercise of the Administration’s authority under existing law.   

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