New book says Biden’s statements about student debt in 2021 prompted White House staff to appease progressives 2022-04-30 16:42:54

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First on the fox: statements made by President Biden In Wisconsin last year it created a tug-of-war between moderates and progressives Democrats about forgiving student debt and forcing some from the White House to clean up the president’s remarks, according to a book coming from two New York Times reporters.

An excerpt made available to Fox News from Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns’ forthcoming book “This Won’t Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s FutureDescribes the difficult response from progressives after Biden made it clear that he was not open to the idea of ​​giving up a significant amount of student loan debt, especially for those who attended Ivy League schools.

President Biden attends CNN Town Hall at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 16, 2021.

President Biden attends CNN Town Hall at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 16, 2021.
(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking at the Milwaukee City Council in February 2021, Biden rejected a public member’s plea for his administration to forgive at least $50,000 in student loans to Americans across the country.

“I’m not going to get that,” Biden said. “It depends on whether you go to a private university or a public university or not.”

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According to the book, Biden, who told a town hall audience that he was not interested in forgiving “billions of dollars in debt to people who went to Harvard, Yale, and Penn,” apparently tied up “huge debts with fancy universities.”

Biden’s comments sent his staff, including Chief of Staff Ron Klein, into a whirlwind as they tried to change what the president had said in an effort to placate the party’s progressive wing. The authors explained that this ward was asking him to forgive more than the $10,000 he had originally promised.

Despite Biden’s private statements, Klein, according to the book, spoke privately “with several debt-cancellation advocates in Congress to assure them that his boss did not intend to take such a firm stance.”

“One lawmaker who spoke with Ron Klein reported graciously saying that Biden sometimes tangles a little bit in his public statements,” the authors wrote. When a group of House progressives raised the issue again with Klein in a meeting several weeks later, the trusted aide hinted Biden’s comments were wrong.

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“We corrected that the next day, right?” Klein said of Biden’s remarks, according to a lawmaker’s recollection that appeared in the book.

It was reported this week that Biden told members of Congress that he is looking at options to waive student loans through executive action.

Earlier this week, the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. , I suggested Biden is close to canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt for borrowers.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, at the Washington Capitol on June 22, 2021.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, at the Washington Capitol on June 22, 2021.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“I will continue to urge the president to take this important step,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. “And I say to my colleagues, I think the president is moving in our direction.” “My conversations with him and his staff have been very productive over the past few years, and I hope he does the right thing. We are getting closer.”

Speaking about the pause in loan payments, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that executive action from the president is on the table.

“He will make a decision before this silence is over,” Psaki said. “For now, it has been extended until August… and he is looking at other options for the executive branch.”

Progressives are pushing Biden to completely waive his student loan debt through an executive order. They say the overwhelming debt hanging on the heads of many college graduates is forcing them to delay major life decisions and that student debt disproportionately affects minorities.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press conference at the White House on March 4, 2022.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press conference at the White House on March 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Caroline Custer)

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Federal student loan payments were halted for the first time in response to the economic cost of the May 2020 COVID-19 pandemic shutdown under the former president. Donald Trump. But with the economy emerging from the pandemic, Biden extended the pause several times after taking office, drawing criticism from Republicans.

The book is scheduled to be released on May 3.

Paul Best and Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this article.

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