The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has sent an open letter to President Biden urging him to push forward with his student loan forgiveness plan.
The Biden Administration’s controversial debt relief plan would forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loans for most eligible borrowers and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. The plan was immediately criticized by Republicans who claim it is unfair and too expensive.
The NAACP specifically took issue with a provision in the latest debt ceiling agreement that ends the COVID era payment pause and contends that Black borrowers are especially in need of action from the government:
“The resolution of the debt ceiling crisis is one we wholeheartedly welcomed, and we appreciate all that went into debt ceiling negotiations,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. “However, we are disappointed that the needs of Black communities have suffered from the negotiated agreement that will erode economic progress for Black Americans. Given the Administration’s stated focus on equity, it is disappointing that narrowing the racial wealth gap was not given a higher priority.”
The open letter goes on to ask President Biden to keep his promise of forgiving student loans, but the request comes at a precarious time for the Biden Administration.
Recently, Congress passed a Republican-led bill to cancel Biden’s debt relief plan. Though the bill was largely passed along party lines, there were notable Democrat defectors in the Senate. That legislation was defeated with a veto from President Biden, and the votes required for a veto override likely don’t exist given the slim margin by which the bill initially passed. However, the debt relief plan still faces a Supreme Court decision from a conservative-leaning bench. During oral arguments, the conservative justices seemed skeptical of President Biden’s ability to forgive student loans on such a massive scale. But NAACP President Derrick Johnson says he doesn’t expect an unfavorable decision to deter Biden from following through.
“Let me be very clear—even if the Supreme Court issues an unfavorable ruling, the Biden Administration is still on the hook to deliver,” said Johnson in a statement. “The NAACP remains steadfast in demanding meaningful progress in this vital area on behalf of Black America. We’ll stop at nothing to ensure that we can all thrive.”
The Supreme Court ruling on Biden’s forgiveness program is expected later this month.
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