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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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White House Confirms It Is Looking Into Shutting Down Oil Pipeline Amid Fuel Crisis

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Gas Pipeline

The Biden administration confirmed that it is considering shutting down an oil pipeline in Michigan despite the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

“Revoking the permits for the [Line 5] pipeline that delivers oil from western Canada across Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Michigan and into Ontario, would please environmentalists who have urged the White House to block fossil fuel infrastructure, but it would aggravate a rift with Canada and could exacerbate a spike in energy prices that Republicans are already using as a political weapon,” Politico Pro reported. “Killing a pipeline while U.S. gasoline prices are the highest in years could be political poison for Biden, who has seen his approval rating crash in recent months.”

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked about the report during Monday’s press briefing, asking, “why is the administration now considering shutting down the Line 5 pipeline from Canada to Michigan?”

“So, Peter, that is inaccurate,” Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed. “That is not right. So, any reporting indicating that some decision has been made, again, is not accurate. … So, again, I would — it is inaccurate what you just stated, but —”

“What’s inaccurate?” Doocy asked.

“The reporting about us wanting to shut down the Line 5,” Jean-Pierre said.

“I didn’t say ‘wanting.’  I said, is it being studied right now?  Is the administration studying the impact of shutting down the Line 5?”

“Yeah. Yes, we are. We are,” Jean-Pierre admitted.

 

The news comes as gas prices have reached their highest since 2014, when Biden was vice president, and are currently about 50% higher than they were when Biden entered office.

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