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Biden admin to review authority to cancel student debt via executive action

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Screenshot 2020 04 20 09.30.40

President Joe Biden has requested that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona prepare a memo on the president’s legal authority to cancel student debt, White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Politico in a Thursday interview.

“Hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks,” Klain said of the memo. “And then he’ll look at that legal authority, he’ll look at the policy issues around that and he’ll make a decision.”

“He hasn’t made a decision on that,” Klain added, “either way, in fact, he hasn’t yet gotten the memos that he needs to start to focus on that decision.”

The Department of Education (DOE) memo is being conducted in tandem with the Department of Justice, with the DOE spearheading it.

The chief of staff’s remarks come as Democrats in Congress—such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—are calling for Biden to sign an executive order canceling up to $50,000 in student debt, as NBC News noted. Lawmakers, though, have acknowledged that they didn’t have the required GOP backing to pass a bill that would do the same.

While Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign expressed support for canceling up to $10,000, he has stated he doesn’t think he carries the legal authority to unilaterally eliminate as much as $50,000 without congressional action.

“I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating,” Biden said at a town hall event in February. “I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50 [thousand], because I don’t think I have the authority to do it.”

44.7 million Americans—one out of five—have student loan debt, according to the latest Federal Reserve data, with there being $1.71 trillion in total U.S. student debt.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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ukraine tanks scaled

Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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