This week, officials from the White House intend to meet with student debt activists and advocacy groups in advance of President Joe Biden's self-imposed deadline of August 31 to decide whether or not to agree broad-based debt relief for millions of Americans. The White House meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
The virtual meeting, which is set to take place on Thursday, is the most recent sign that the White House is strongly considering having to cancel some student loan debt. Biden advisers are currently considering the election-year political consequences of such a move.
The event was open to a wide range of non-government organizations (NGOs) from the outside world that work on the issue of canceling student loans. The White House described the meeting as "an opportunity for you to share your priorities on student debt relief," according to a copy of the invitation that was obtained by POLITICO.
Representatives from the White House Domestic Policy Council, National Economic Council, Office of Public Engagement, and Office of Political Strategy and Outreach will all be present at the meeting.
On Wednesday, an official from the White House responded to a question regarding the meeting by stating, "We are holding the meeting at the request of the groups, as we have done over the past year."
Karine Jean-Pierre, who serves as Biden's press secretary, stated on Tuesday that the vice president had not made a decision regarding whether or not to extend the payment freeze or cancel all debts.
According to what Jean-Pierre said, When a decision has been made, the Department of Education will interact directly with lenders about the end of the payment pause (The pause in loan payments). She went on to say that the White House was still evaluating our options regarding the cancellation of widespread amounts of debt.
Jean-Pierre reiterated on Tuesday that Biden has committed to deciding something by the end of the month, as he had previously stated. She guaranteed that he would receive something by the 31st of August.
It is widely anticipated that the administration of Vice President Joe Biden will, at the very least, stretch the payment freeze until after the elections in November, as many prominent Democrats have requested that the White House do. Officials from the Department of Education have already given indications that the payment pause will most likely be extended. These officials have instructed loan servicing companies to defer informing borrowers that they will resume making payments on their loans until further notice.
Nevertheless, the more significant problem of a widespread loan forgiveness program is more difficult to solve. White House policy advisers have disagreed for a long time regarding the wisdom of the policy and the political ramifications of writing off large amounts of student debt. Internal decision-making has been pulled out for months with no resolving.
Officials in the administration are contemplating eliminating $10,000 in debt for debtors earning less than a specified income threshold. However, many progressives, including major labor unions and human rights organizations such as the NAACP, want the White House to forgive a bigger amount of debt — up to $50,000 — for all borrowers.
Officials at the Department of Education have been hard at work formulating strategies for how the department could carry out a major student loan forgiveness program on a scale that has never been seen before. Officials within the department are investigating whether or not it is possible to automate the cancellation of student loans for the greatest number of borrowers possible without asking those borrowers to fill out an application form. They are investigating options to forgive debt, such as for borrowers who have defaulted on their payments and for those who have received a Pell grant.
Republicans have argued that any level of student loan forgiveness would be an unjust handout to many Americans who do not need it and would contribute to economic inflation. They believe that this would be the case regardless of the amount of forgiveness. There have been some centrist Democrats who have voiced concerns regarding the broad forgiving of student loans.
Legislators affiliated with the Republican Party have proposed a bill that would make it illegal for Vice President Biden to conduct a broad scale loan forgiveness program. They have also given indications that, should they win control of Congress in the coming year, they intend to exercise stringent monitoring of any debt forgiveness scheme proposed by President Joe Biden.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on The Daily Cable.