The push to convince President Biden to wipe out student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans is gaining momentum. A coalition of Democrats is making the case to forgive up to $50,000, as a means of boosting the nation's economy.
When this form of loan forgiveness was not included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed last week, the pressure by some Democrats on President Biden mounted to use his own executive power to take action.
"The momentum is building, the coalition is growing," said Democratic Rep., Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. "This is the moment of reckoning."
It is a growing movement to demand that the President cancel up to $50,000 worth of student loan debt per American through executive order
Nationwide, student loan debt stands at more than $1.6 trillion: an average of more than $37,000 per student.
"College should be a ladder up," said New York Senator Chuck Schumer. "For too many people, debt is the anchor that weighs them down."
One of those people is Carlsbad resident Taylor Petersen.
Through college and graduate school, the 28-year-old advertising copywriter accumulated nearly $80,000 in student loans, which so far she's only been able to pay the interest on.
"It feels insurmountable," Petersen said. "It's something I've learned to accept as something I'll pay every month, probably until I'm very old."
For the time being, her federal loans are on hold, after president Biden extended the pause on repaying principal and interest until October first.
But Petersen is hopeful that some form of loan forgiveness will be passed by that point. "It would be a weight off my shoulders," she added.
That would apply to an estimated 36 million other graduates as well.
"Particularly black and brown families," Pressley said, "who we know will spend that money back in their communities."
While facing Republican opposition, Democratic leaders pushing for executive action say that forgiving this debt will ultimately boost the economy.
"Right now, young people with student loan debt are not forming small businesses, not just because of the pandemic, this was a problem before the pandemic," said Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. "They're not able to buy homes, they're often not able to move out of their relatives' homes."
"Why is this okay?" demanded Petersen. "And why are we accepting this as a life...as a future for people?"
While Democrats are pushing for $50,000 in loan forgiveness, President Biden has voiced support for $10,000, pushing Congress to pass legislation which he said he would sign.