Dems fret Biden’s inaction on student debt will burn in midterms

President Joe Biden’s indecision on student loan debt could dampen turnout with a key constituency ahead of the midterms: younger voters.

While White House officials have indicated he may extend the freeze on student loan payments for the fourth time, Biden’s lack of certainty ahead of another looming deadline is causing heartburn across the president’s party.

Advocates in close touch with the White House are impatient, arguing that even if Biden ultimately moves forward with another payment suspension by the May expiration date, it’s becoming increasingly tough for them to inspire restive young voters to match their record 2020 or 2018 turnout levels. And Democratic lawmakers are pressing Biden to give millions of borrowers more than a month’s notice when deciding on an extension, which prevents them from going over a financial cliff.

The ultimate answer, both advocates and Democrats say, is for Biden to finally use his executive authority to fulfill a campaign promise to eliminate at least $10,000 in student debt for every borrowerAnd they’re hoping he does it before November.

The issue is one in a long list of pledges Biden extended during his campaign that advocates, particularly those representing young voters, say the president is dragging his feet on. Increasingly, they worry that along with addressing climate change and countering GOP assaults on voting rights, the lack of broad action on spiraling student debt will send a signal to Gen Z and millennials that Biden and his party are unwilling to use all of their available powers to make immediate and meaningful changes that affect their pocketbooks and futures.

“The White House doesn’t seem to get that their base isn’t just old white people who want to hear ‘Fund the police,’” said Max Lubin, co-founder and chief executive of Rise, Inc., referencing Biden’s recent State of the Union address. “It’s young and racially diverse and we need student debt cancellation and climate action for young people to have a fair shot.” Rise, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that advocates for free college.

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