- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2022

President Biden’s Education Department is being pressed to reveal what preparations are being made for a mass cancelation of student debt. 

Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, the top Republican on the Education Committee, sent a letter Wednesday to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona questioning just how far the planning had gone. She noted that Mr. Cardona recently said his department was “ready to roll” whenever the White House made a final decision on canceling student debt. 

“I continue to believe neither you nor the president have the authority to grant blanket forgiveness in any amount,” wrote Mrs. Foxx in the letter, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by The Washington Times.

The White House has long debated whether to cancel federal student debt, and Mr. Biden has been under pressure from Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists to forgive a large chunk of the roughly $1.75 trillion in student loans owed by Americans.

Mr. Biden is expected to cancel $10,000 of student debt for people making up to $150,000 a year or  $300,000 a year for married couples. The announcement, however, has been repeatedly delayed and now is not expected until at least late summer.

Mrs. Foxx said that Education Department had proven unprepared in prior efforts to administer loan forgiveness. As such, she demanded a thorough accounting of what Mr. Cardona and the White House have devised on the topic. 

“I am gravely concerned the Department will further harm borrowers and taxpayers if it acts on student loan forgiveness, in part because of its inability to follow through on its grandiose proposals,” she wrote in the letter. 

Mrs. Foxx argued that it was vital for Congress to know if the Education Department not only had a plan to cancel student debt but also who was included in its drafting. Specifically, has input been solicited from student loan servicers?

“While you indicated that the Department is prepared to act on an unconstitutional decision to forgive student loans, I remind you that acting is not just releasing a press statement,” Mrs. Foxx wrote.

Mr. Biden has already canceled some student debt, including debt accrued by disabled individuals and those that attended for-profit colleges accused of fraud. 

Democratic lawmakers and their allies are impatient for more executive action to slash student debt. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called on Mr. Biden to erase upwards of $50,000 in student debt per borrower. Mrs. Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, said that since more than $1.6 trillion in student debt is owed to the federal government, the president can act unilaterally.

“The majority of student loans are held by those with no household wealth at all,” she said. “The president should cancel student debt to expand opportunities for hardworking Americans across the country.” 

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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