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To forgive or not to forgive: Biden’s student loan discord

To forgive or not to forgive: Biden's student loan discord
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Welcome to the West Wing Guide to Politico, Your guide to the people and power centers in the Biden administration. With Allie Pace.

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Biden administration officials are united on many policy issues. Student debt is not one of them.

During the first year of the Biden administration, administration officials and the White House wrangling both internally and externally over how to handle the outstanding $1.7 trillion student loan debt held by Americans.

Biden himself and many in his inner circle are wary of arguments for canceling student loan debt through executive action or extending a student loan repayment freeze indefinitely during Covid-19 — a position the president believes is common on Twitter but less well known in the country. Some of Biden’s outside allies see the indecision as a result of Biden’s inner circle being considerably older and wealthy, with little understanding of how the current student loan burden is affecting younger generations.

Biden’s views have been bolstered by some new aides including the chair of the Home Policy Council (DPC) Susan’s rice. As prominent Democrats as the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) Calling last fall for an extension of the pandemic-era moratorium on loan payments, the DPC remained skeptical about any extension, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

“Everyone I spoke to saw Susan Rice as hostile to any kind of aggressive pro-student agenda,” said one progressive activist.

Rice was one of a group of Biden administration officials who were insisting that payments resume on February 1. Their argument: The Biden administration needs to run its student loan program wisely — and that means making it easier for borrowers to get back into their monthly payments, even if it’s unpopular with loan recipients getting those bills. Some administration officials have also expressed concerns that extending emergency pandemic relief programs, such as a student loan moratorium, is undermining the White House’s message about a booming economic recovery.

Meanwhile, other administration officials, especially those allied with the senator, did. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mas.), The White House is pushing to adopt the kind of sweeping student loan forgiveness proposals that outside progressives are demanding. The White House’s review of his executive authority has been “ongoing” for several months.

The lack of internal consensus led to a chaotic decision-making process in late December when the suspension was due to expire, people familiar with the process told West Wing Playbook. It started with a controversial meeting at the White House with overseas student debt activists. Sources familiar with the discussions said there was talk of a full year extension, but it was raised. finally, Joe Biden He suddenly reversed course and chose to extend the moratorium until May 1. White House and Department of Education officials cited the increase in the Omicron variable as a key factor driving policy change.

In response to a request for comment for this story, a White House official noted that it was Rice’s DPC that eventually drafted the final resolution memorandum that called for the May extension. When asked if we could review the memo, the official said “no.” Carmel Martin And Catherine Valley Two DPC assistants who took the lead on the issue. Rice also helped oversee the Biden administration’s massive expansion last fall of the federal loan forgiveness program for public servants.

The chaotic reversal provided a political opportunity for the Vice President Kamala Harris Amid the departure of staff and bad headlines. Over the past year, Harris’ office has not been much involved in conversations with outside progressive groups about student loan debt, according to student loan advocates.

But Harris’ office has at least sought to share credit for the decision to extend the freeze. Harris cut her own video on Facebook and Instagram. “It’s the right thing to do,” she stated in the video (which was separate from Biden’s video message on the issue).

The White House helped her win. The president’s statement noted that this was “an issue on which Vice President Harris has focused closely.” And the press secretary Jin Psaki She went out of her way to stress that “this is an issue that both President Biden and Vice President Harris care deeply about,” while announcing the new student loan forgiveness from the podium.

However, the temporary extension was a bet, as the two sides would discuss the issue again within several weeks. The closer the decision gets to the middle of the term, the more politicized it becomes. Supporters argue that younger voters can be revitalized with a resolution to provide complete relief, while opponents of other extensions are wary of alienating older voters who might resent anything resembling loan forgiveness.

Biden’s instincts are to resume payments and not unilaterally waive loans without congressional action (which is unlikely). During a CNN City Council meeting in February, he said the loan forgiveness would include students from “Harvard, Yale and Penn.”

He asked why those students’ loan debts would be forgiven, “instead of using that money to provide money for the early education of young children – who come from disadvantaged circumstances.”

Do you work in the Biden administration? Are you in touch with the White House? Are you ALEJANDRO S. JACQUEZ, Senior Policy Adviser to the National Economic Council. We want to hear from you – and we will remain anonymous. Contact us at [email protected] Or you can text / Signal Alex at 8183240098.

From the White House Historical Society

Which president invited a Kentucky Derby rider to a state dinner to please Queen Elizabeth II, a famous racing fan, during a visit to the White House? (Bonus points if you can guess the year!)

(Answer below.)

out of state – Another day, another departure. Pet Fils He is stepping down as Director of Press Operations for Vice President Harris, Eugene Daniels to learn, For a position in the Office of the Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fells’ move is the latest in a string of their high-profile departures, which has raised eyebrows and led to finger-pointing and reports of internal dysfunction. This comes a day after news was received from Harris’ Deputy Director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Vincent Evans He was leaving to work with the black congressional bloc. He told CNBC that his departure had nothing to do with recent reports of low staff morale.

time is passing: While much of the focus has been on reconstructing the events of last January 6th, it was on how Donald Trump’The White House and members of Congress spent the day, and little is known about how Biden and his team dealt, in real time, with the riots that were taking place. Laura Baron Lopez And Christopher Chadelago Address that with this behind-the-scenes look at how the president-elect spent that awful day, and how it has shaped his presidency since then.

Merrick is taking the case. On the eve of the first anniversary of the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill, the attorney general Merrick Garland He repelled criticism of the Justice Department’s investigation into the attack. Josh Gerstein And Kyle Cheney In the report, the attorney general said in a letter on Wednesday that prosecutors are systematically bringing cases against the most serious criminals in the attack on the Capitol.

Garland’s speech came as Democrats and others on the left have grown impatient with the Justice Department with no outside indication that investigators are pursuing potential criminal cases against the former president. Donald Trump Or senior allies who worked closely with him in the days leading up to the Capitol violence.

strong arm – early this morning, Burgess Everett Reported that the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said he’s open to discussing “flaws” in the Electoral Recounting Act, the law that allows members of Congress to veto election results. The 1887 Act became a target of some centrist Hill lawmakers, who believed that reforming the law could win bipartisan support.

But the White House doesn’t seem interested, viewing the attempt as a way for Republicans to appear pro-reform while doing nothing meaningful in terms of actual voting rights. In a statement to WWP this evening, Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates He said there was “no alternative” to the president’s current efforts to restore parts of the landmark Voting Rights Act and pass the Freedom of Voting Act, which would expand early and mail voting.

“Despite condemning the Big Lie a year ago, Senate Republicans are now doing a dirty job on his behalf and halting policies that bipartisan debate has supported for decades,” he said. “This is totally unacceptable, which is why the president abides by the Voting Rights Act.”

caught in the middle: An escalating dispute between the Chicago teachers’ union has put the Biden administration at odds with a major constituency over the safety of in-person learning during the recent Covid-19 surge, Nick Nidzweidk He writes. The Chicago Teachers’ Union voted Tuesday not to inform schools — a move that prompted city school officials to cancel both in-person and distance learning.

Asked about the strike, Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday, “Long story short, we want schools to be open, the president wants them to be open and we will continue to use every resource and work to ensure that.”

Biden White House wraps up preparations Jan. 6 affected by lack of high-level intelligence sharing (WaPo’s Devlin Barrett, Ashley Parker, Aaron C. Davis)

Why isn’t the expanded Biden tax credit more popular? (Ian Prasad Philbrick from The New York Times)

A year on, President Biden’s bold gun reform agenda is still largely ambitious (The Trace’s Chip Brownlee)

Afghanistan has become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis (Jane Ferguson in New York)

Received the President’s daily summary in the morning.

with the president.

Sandra Ford, the special assistant to the president for public health and science, seems to like Hamilton’s music.

In her statement announcing her new White House party and her departure as health director for DeKalb County, Georgia, she dropped this line: “I don’t know I won’t be back, but I couldn’t, as they say in Hamilton, I couldn’t get rid of this shot.” This is so sweet and bitter.”

Is there anyone in the capital No Like Hamilton? Send us your hottest stuff against Hamilton.

In 2007, the president George W. Bush Knight called the Kentucky Derby winner that year, Calvin Burrell, To the state dinner held for the Queen during her royal visit.

Do you have a better question? Send us the toughest trivia question about presidents and we might as well show it on Wednesday. We also want your feedback. What should we cover in this leaflet and not cover it? What did we do wrong? Please, let us know.

Edited by Emily Cady

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