Biden would go along with canceling student debt in an effort to appeal to younger voters


Even in the days and weeks after President Joe Biden took the dramatic step of canceling student loan debt for 40 million Americans, it was not clear that he would publicly focus on the issue again.

Passing references in wide-ranging policy speeches was as much as Biden was willing to give to the issue, a reflection of the arduous and divided domestic policy process, and a reckoning within the White House policy team about the broader importance of the issue.

That will change in a big way on Friday when Biden travels to Delaware State University for an event explicitly tied to his executive action, where he will talk about the debt relief program, give an enrollment update and call out Republican lawmakers who have attacked him. the program It comes on the heels of two court victories over the legality of the move, which has already applied to more than 10 million loans without a program launch.

But embedded in the decision to try to bring the issue to the center is what White House officials have seen in surveys about its impact on youth voters and engagement, especially young black voters, multiple sources said. Although officials expected some impact, the scale caught them off guard and helped push the problem into the incinerator inside the West Wing.

Delaware State, an HBCU with close ties to Biden for decades, will become a platform for the president’s latest push to highlight his policy decisions and energize Democrats.

It’s a good window into the event planned by Biden just hours before his visit to Delaware State. The main attack against loan actions has been its cost, according to estimates, hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years.

That’s why Biden will use the Treasury Department’s annual budget results from the last fiscal year to put together numbers that will show a significant drop in the top-line deficit for the year. To be clear, it is mainly related to the end of the most significant emergency programs during the pandemic. But the release of the dry numbers creates the perfect moment for Biden to preempt attacks coming later in the day.

Biden’s remarks came a day after federal courts blocked two attempts to block the program. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett dismissed a challenge to the program by a group of Wisconsin taxpayers, and Federal District Court Judge Henry Autrey dismissed a lawsuit brought by six Republican-led states.

A White House official said before the speech that Biden will provide an update on the program’s launch and highlight relief for Pell grant recipients, who make up 75 percent of the student body at Delaware State University, a historically black college and university.

“The president will highlight the impact student debt relief will have on millions of working and middle-class Americans, especially borrowers of color. He will also call on Republican members of Congress to attack his efforts to give middle-class families extra breathing room, even as those officials reject federal government loans for pandemic relief. hundreds of thousands of dollars were forgiven,” the official said.

Applications for the program formally opened on Monday, and 8 million Americans have already begun the sign-up process during the beta launch.

The White House official said Biden’s administration’s work to strengthen historically black colleges and universities and “the steps the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to fix the student loan system itself and make education more affordable.”

Biden will be introduced by a Delaware State University student who will share how the relief will affect him and his family.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.