IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Nearly 90 Democrats urge Biden to do more to address student debt

The letter, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley and signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, follows the Supreme Court's striking down Biden's federal student loan cancellation.
Elizabeth Warren,Ayanna Pressley
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, front, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both D-Mass., at a 2021 news conference calling on President Joe Biden to cancel some student loan debt.Steven Senne / AP file

WASHINGTON — A group of nearly 90 Democratic members of Congress urged President Joe Biden in a letter Wednesday night to do more to address the burden of student debt, according to a copy shared exclusively with NBC News.

The letter — led by two progressive Massachusetts lawmakers, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley — is also signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and other Democrats. It was sent to the White House just one day before the anniversary of Biden’s initial announcement that he would cancel $10,000 in federal student loans for millions of borrowers, which the Supreme Court struck down in a 6-3 decision in June.

“Although the Supreme Court has chosen to stand in the way of your initial student debt relief plan, we recognize that as President of the United States, you have additional tools to provide relief,” the Democrats write. “Working and middle class families need this relief to come as soon as possible. We urge you to continually find ways to use your authority to bring down student debt, address the rising cost of college, and make postsecondary education affordable for all students who choose that path.”

The lawmakers stress that they “remain gravely concerned” about the Education Department’s projections that student debt delinquencies and defaults will spike without additional relief once repayment resumes Oct. 1 after a yearslong pause during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Borrowers have already waited nearly a year for the relief you announced in August 2022, and critics of your plan to help 43 million Americans are likely to renew their attacks with regard to your rulemaking announcement,” the Democratic members say. “We urge you to reject their bad-faith, partisan attempts to delay relief and carry out your efforts to help borrowers as quickly as possible.”

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision, Biden outlined new measures to help people repay student loans. The White House this week launched its “Saving on a Valuable Education,” or “SAVE,” plan — an income-driven repayment plan for borrowers that the Biden-Harris administration touts as “the most affordable repayment plan ever created.”

Warren and Schumer praised the “SAVE” plan as a step forward in helping people with student debt.

“While there will be those that will challenge this in court, the administration has carefully crossed the legal t’s and dotted the legal i’s,” Schumer said in a statement Tuesday. “The fight to cancel student debt is far from over, but this is a massive step in the right direction. President Biden deserves accolades and support for this action.”

Warren cautioned in a tweet that “Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal this relief.”

“I’m going to fight their effort each step of the way,” she said.

Groups of House and Senate Republicans have each released their own legislation to tackle student loan debt this summer, though it’s not clear either package has Democratic support.