Biden is a little touchy about student debt, and I think it's because as a senator, back in 2005 when he was a full-time whore of the banksters and credit card companies, student debt was one of the travesties of his record. One of his promises on the campaign trail was that he would "fix" the student debt crisis. So far he's been more a roadblock than a repairman.
Back when he was an even worse senator than he is a president, the Republicans pushed through a predatory bill stripping away the right of students to declare bankruptcy caused by predatory student loans. Every Republicans and 18 Democrats (with Hillary Clinton hiding in the ladies' room during the vote) voted for the accursed Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. 25 Democrats, including Obama, Schumer, Durbin and even Joe Lieberman voted against it. Biden and other corrupt conservative Dems voted with the GOP for a 74-25 passage. Biden was the #1 Democratic cheerleader for the bill that has destroyed so many lives. It was one of the reasons-- among many-- that I didn't vote for him. During the debate, Ted Kennedy told Biden and his bribe-taking cronies that the bill they were pushing "breaks the bond that unites America, it sacrifices Americans to the rampant greed of the credit card industry." The credit card industry financed Biden's entire career and he delivered for them every time he could. His instincts are working against people who were put in debt because of his corruption.
After the White House leaked a measly $10,000 reduction, progressives, particularly Elizabeth Warren and Bernie started ramping up the pressure on Biden to go big. He doesn't want to and normally he would just ignore them. The problem is that the Democrats need this to save their congressional majorities. And less progressive senators, like Schumer and Warnock, have joined the pressure campaign. Biden seems ready to do a meager loan reduction via executive order. Warren, Schumer and Warnock have asked for another meeting with him to persuade him not to do something that will wind up just angering everyone.
Progressives want the whole student loan debt eliminated-- all of it. Warren is willing to go down to $50,000 per debtor, a figure Biden has already ruled out.
Biden is expected to make an announcement soon, and Senate Democrats want to make sure they are some of the last people to speak to him before that decision. After this story published, the NAACP’s national director of youth and college Wisdom Cole said that “canceling $10,000 in student debt will not help the Black community. Means-testing will not help the Black community.”
“Anything as low as $10,000 in cancellation would be a slap in the face. Our demand for $50,000 or more in cancellation is backed by research,” Cole said.
There’s a risk, of course, in upsetting the handful of fiscal conservatives in the Democratic Party while some of Biden’s agenda is still up in the air in Congress. Privately some Democrats would like any announcement on debt relief to come later in the year to put it closer to the elections and to give them more time to negotiate a party-line climate and tax reform bill without upsetting any of their centrists.
What if Obama hadn't managed to design a primary coup in backward, red South Carolina to keep Bernie out of the White House and put Biden in? Well... this was Bernie in 2020: