Democrats are concerned President Joe Biden's failure to deliver on his campaign promise of excusing up to $10,000 in student debt might lead to less younger voters at the polls in the midterm elections.
While the Biden administration continues a freeze on student loan repayments which started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and might be extended beyond its end date in May, it has stalled on forgiving up to $10,000 in student loan debts by executive order or Congressional legislation, Business Insider reported Saturday.
During his run for office in March 2020, Biden posted on Twitter: "We should forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans, as proposed by Sen. [Elizabeth] Warren, D-Mass., and colleagues. Young people and other student debt holders bore the brunt of the last crisis. It shouldn't happen again."
Less than a month after Biden took office, Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pressed him for action by reintroducing a bicameral resolution to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt and called on Biden to use his executive authority to cancel the debt and make sure borrowers were not facing a tax liability for the cancellation.
"Student loan debt is weighing down millions of families in New York and across this country," they wrote in a joint statement at the time. "During a time of historic and overlapping crises, which are disproportionately impacting communities of color, we must do everything in our power to deliver real relief to the American people, lift up our struggling economy and close the racial wealth gap. Democrats are committed to big, bold action, and this resolution to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt is one of the strongest steps the president can take to achieve these goals."
Biden later walked back the amount to $10,000 but has not moved the issue forward through executive or legislative means.
Democrats think this inaction will show when younger voters, who overwhelmingly supported Biden in 2020, fail to show up in November.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said after Biden's State of the Union speech March 2, that he glossed over the issue – along with others that are important to young Democrats.
"There are some things that were left unsaid that we have to work on as a party, in order to speak to constituencies who supported [Biden], whose turnout we need, who perhaps haven't heard their issues spoken to in the way they wanted," she told MSNBC following the speech. "Things like student loan debt, the larger themes and crises in education, as well as the piece on immigration was really just glossed over."
Seventeen percent of the total votes cast in 2020 were from voters ages 18-29 who went to Biden over Trump 60%-36%, according to Business Insider.
That cohort, however, has soured on Biden since he took office with a Dec. 1, 2021, Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics poll showing Biden's approval rating dropping from 59% when he took office to 46% in December 2021.
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