Student loan forgiveness was not said during the State of the Union



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  • The AOC denounced Biden’s failure to mention student debt during the State of the Union on Tuesday.
  • She said it was among the important issues for Democratic constituencies that were “unsaid.”
  • Biden extended the student loan payment break until May 1, but did not comment on broad relief.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noticed President Joe Biden didn’t mention the student debt crisis during his State of the Union — and she said that could mean a weak participation in the polls.

“There are things that have not been said that we are really going to have to work on as a party, in order to really talk to the constituencies that have historically supported the president, that we need the participation, that we need support now and in the years to come, who may not have heard about their issues the way they wanted,” Ocasio-Cortez told MSNBC on Tuesday night.

“Things like student loan debt, broader education themes and crises, and the immigration article were really glossed over,” she added.

Amid a nearly two-year pause on student loan payments, many Democrats legislators and defenders hoped Biden would address the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis affecting 45 million Americans during his national address. But, as Insider reported, student debt was completely unmentioned, and the president briefly touched on higher education issues, like increasing the maximum Pell Grant and supporting free community colleges.

While Biden recently extended the payments pause for a third time, until May 1, his campaign promise to cancel student debt remains largely unfulfilled. Lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez have consistently warned that failing to meet progressive voter priorities, like student debt relief, could cost Democrats a majority in Congress.

In December, Ocasio-Cortez said it was “actually delusional” to count on Democratic electoral success if Biden’s promises aren’t kept, and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley recently told Insider that “the Canceling student debt is one such policy and should not be a partisan issue.”

“The ultimate persuasion is impact, and Democrats win when we deliver bold, impactful policies that improve the everyday lives of our constituents,” Pressley said.

And the voters themselves have spoken. A CNBC survey found that 57% of Americans want Biden to make student loan forgiveness a priority, and a recent Data for Progress survey found that almost two-thirds of voters favor canceling some or all of the student debt.

Yet when asked about the potential for broad student loan relief, the White House has repeatedly raised the issue in Congress, even as debt cancellation advocates like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren say the way legislation will take too long.

“If Congress sends him a bill, he’s happy to sign it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in December. “They haven’t sent him an invoice for this yet.”



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