Biden Touts $1.2 Billion Student Loan Cancellation During Southern California Visit

Biden Touts $1.2 Billion Student Loan Cancellation During Southern California Visit

President Joe Biden speaks in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

2/21/2024

Updated: 2/21/2024

President Joe Biden concluded a two-day Southern California fundraising visit Feb. 21 with a speech in Culver City, the same day he announced the cancellation of federal student loans for about 153,000 borrowers.
“While a college degree is still a ticket to a better life, that ticket is too expensive,” Mr. Biden said during the speech at a local library. “Too many Americans are still saddled with unsustainable debt in exchange for a college degree.”
The Biden administration started sending out emails Wednesday to select borrowers who stand to benefit from what the White House has dubbed the SAVE program.
To qualify for the most recent round of student loan debt cancellation, borrowers must have been making payments for a minimum of 10 years and borrowed $12,000 or less.
The initial round of forgiveness under the program will eliminate $1.2 billion in loans.
According to the White House, the move means Mr. Biden has cancelled nearly $138 billion in student debt during his administration, impacting almost 3.9 million borrowers.
President Joe Biden speaks in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

President Joe Biden speaks in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

President Biden said such has helped the life plans that many Americans had to defer due to debt.
“This is the kind of relief that can be life-changing for individuals and for their families,” he said. “And it’s good for the economy as a whole. We’ve freed millions of Americans from their crushing student loan programs. It means they can finally get on with their lives. ... They can think about buying a house, starting a home, starting a family ... or saving for their family’s future.”
Jessica Saint-Paul—a physician’s assistant and teacher, who introduced the president during the event—shared her story echoing his message.
She said she borrowed around $95,000 to pursue her undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degrees. However, even after repaying the debt for 18 years, she said the amount had grown to over $144,000 due to accrued interest.
Luckily, she said, her debt was forgiven under the president’s previous student loan forgiveness plan, which allowed her to start a family.
“I am now married. I’m able to pay my mortgage in Los Angeles ... and just two weeks ago, I had my baby girl. It’s a defining moment for me to live my dream of being a mom,” Ms. Saint-Paul said.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass also spoke at the event, which was attended by Culver City Mayor Yasmine-Imani, and U.S. Congressmembers Sen. Alex Padilla, and Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove.
Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass speaks in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass speaks in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“Skyrocketing student loan debt doesn’t just prohibit young people from getting the education they need and deserve,” Ms. Bass said. “Student loan debt prevents young people from buying a car. Student loan debt prevents young people from buying a house and starting a family.”
The L.A. mayor added that forgiving student debt has a broader societal impact beyond the individual level.
“Addressing student loan debt should be thought of as a jobs initiative. They should be thought of as a housing initiative. They should be thought of as an economic motivator for young people throughout the country,” she said.
But the president’s announcement has drawn criticism from some lawmakers since its unveiling this morning.
“This is now $138 BILLION of your hard-earned tax dollars that Joe Biden is using to pay off other people’s debt,” Sen. Rick Scott, of Florida, wrote on X. “These reckless handouts are a slap in the face to the millions of people who are working their butts off just to get by and getting nothing but higher prices because of Biden’s broken economy.”
Sen. Roger Marshall, of Kansas, also wrote on X, “Joe Biden is using hard- working Americans’ money once AGAIN to pay off debts that are not theirs. If you take out a loan, you are expected to pay for it.”
Previous debt relief plans also sparked various legal challenges nationwide.
President Joe Biden speaks in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

President Joe Biden speaks in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

In a 6-3 decision in the summer of 2023, the Supreme Court blocked the president’s plan to cancel $430 billion in student loan debt for around 43 million Americans.
After the speech the president headed to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for a 2 p.m. flight to San Francisco, where he has scheduled additional fundraisers.
The president started his trip to California Feb. 20 landing at LAX around 3:30 p.m. He was welcomed by Ms. Bass and California U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters.
Later, he addressed attendees at a fundraiser held at the residence of Israeli American media mogul Haim Saban in the gated Beverly Park community. However, Mr. Saban and fellow host Casey Wasserman, a sports management executive and chairman of the organizing committee for Los Angeles’s 2028 Olympics, were both slated to host the event but were unable to after testing positive for COVID-19.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Biden-Harris campaign announced it raised over $42 million in January and currently holds $130 million in cash on hand.
The president also signed an executive order Wednesday that will give the U.S. Coast Guard authority to respond to cyber threats in ports and set cybersecurity standards for transportation vessels and ports to ensure safety.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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