Updated: Aug 27, 2022
WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden said on Wednesday the U.S. government will forgive $10,000 in student loans for millions of debt-saddled former college students, keeping a pledge he made in the 2020 campaign for the White House.
The move could boost support for his fellow Democrats in the November congressional elections, but some economists said it may fuel inflation and some Republicans in the U.S. Congress questioned whether the president had the legal authority to cancel the debt.
Debt forgiveness will free up hundreds of billions of dollars for new consumer spending that could be aimed at homebuying and other big-ticket expenses, according to economists who said this would add a new wrinkle to the country's inflation fight.
The actions are "for families that need them the most - working and middle class people hit especially hard during the pandemic," Biden said during remarks at the White House. He pledged no high-income households would benefit, addressing a central criticism of the plan.
"I will never apologize for helping working Americans and middle class, especially not to the same folks who voted for a $2 trillion tax cut that mainly benefited the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations," Biden said, referring to a Republican tax cut passed under former President Donald Trump.
Borrower balances have been frozen since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, with no payments required on most federal student loans since March 2020. Many Democrats had pushed for Biden to forgive as much as $50,000 per borrower.