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White House press secretary Jen Psaki held a news briefing on Monday as President Joe Biden continues to consider student loan forgiveness and activists turn up the pressure for my debt relief.
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
Biden has said he would make a decision in the coming weeks. After promising to address the issue during his campaign for president, he’s now weighing how much federal student loan debt should be canceled and who should benefit.
Critics caution that forgiving debt might anger voters who already paid off their loans, and Republicans describe the idea as a political giveaway in a midterm election year. However, an expansive approach could buoy young people whom Democrats view as a central part of their coalition, allowing Biden to deliver concrete results when many of his proposals from the left remain stalled on Capitol Hill.
John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, said student loan forgiveness is “a cornerstone in the relationship between President Biden and young Americans.”
Without young voters on board, “we don’t have a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic president,” said Della Volpe, who worked as a consultant for Biden’s campaign.
About 43 million Americans owe $1.6 trillion on their student loans, more than either credit cards or car payments. It’s a growing problem for younger people, who have assumed more and more debt to finance their educations when public funding for colleges has declined.
Psaki also spoke on Biden’s trip to a Lockheed Martin plant Tuesday that manufactures the Javelin antitank weapons system the U.S. is providing to Ukraine, as well as Biden’s meeting Monday with the parents of American journalist Austin Tice, who went missing in Syria 10 years ago.
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