Reactions vary to Biden’s student debt cancellation

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel some student loan debt is drawing praise from beneficiaries and criticism from others — and the critics include some Democrats.

Former student Dante O’Hara said he’s happy to have $20,000 knocked off his bill. But he still has about $70,000 left in debt.

“If he can cancel $10 to $20,000, why can’t he cancel … all of it?” O’Hara wondered.

There’s been mixed reaction across the country to Biden’s decision. For some borrowers, something is better than nothing.

A News Nation/Decision Desk HQ Poll found 82% of Americans say student loan debt is a problem and about half of those respondents think it’s a major one. Only about 18% think it’s not a problem.

Some worry the move could be a problem for members of the president’s own party heading into the midterms.

Tim Ryan, running for U.S. Senate in the red state of Ohio, is not in favor of the move.

“Waiving debt for those already on a trajectory to financial security sends the wrong message to the millions of Ohioans without a degree working just as hard to make ends meet.” 

Those Democrats are echoing some of the attacks coming from Republicans. 

“I represent a district where the vast majority of individuals do not have a college degree and their taxpayer dollars are going to bail out the richest people,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

Progressives are pushing Biden to do more and moderates are worried canceling even $10,000 is too much.

Democrats hope the move will help more than hurt when voters head to the polls in November.

The Biden administration was “probably trying to find a middle ground that probably disappointed everybody but nevertheless does a lot of good,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the president understands the cancellation wasn’t going to please everybody but believes it is going to give families a little more breathing room.

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