Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., disappointed in President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending plan, says it's time to pressure him to cancel student debt — while taking a shot at Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in the process.
The Build Back Better plan is scaled down from Democrats' initial $3.5 trillion proposal and leaves out progressive priorities after negotiations with centrist holdouts such as Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
"I think given how much BBB has been slashed, there is more opportunity than ever to bring the heat on Biden to cancel student loans," she said on her Instagram story Thursday, The Hill reported.
"He doesn't need Manchin's permission for that, and now that his agenda is thinly sliced, he needs to step up his executive action game and show his commitment to deliver for people."
Though the debate on student loan debt has been on the back burner since payments have been deferred due to the pandemic, the issue is expected to heat up in February, when payments are set to resume, The Hill reported.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has been a supporter of relieving $50,000 of debt per student, the news outlet noted. But though Biden has floated the idea of alleviating some student debt through executive actions, little has been advanced in that area, The Hill reported.
Ocasio-Cortez also suggested the possibility of a "showdown" when student loan payments are expected to resume on Feb. 1 after a nearly two-year pause, adding: "We need to organize and prepare actions now."
She also gave a shout-out to the Debt Collective — a debtors' union that is fighting to abolish all forms of debt — and looked to them for guidance on organizing.
Biden has so far canceled about $11.5 billion in student debt for targeted groups of borrowers, such as those defrauded by for-profit schools, Business Insider reported, noting that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona recently said "conversations are continuing" regarding broad loan forgiveness.
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