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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said that President Biden lacks the "power" to cancel large amounts of student loan debt.

Why it matters: Pelosi's statements are in contrast with other top Democrats — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — who have called for the president to cancel as much as $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower.

  • The White House has previously said that it was evaluating whether it has the legal powers to cancel student loan debt, per Politico.

The big picture: Americans owe roughly $1.6 trillion in student loans, and the current moratorium on payments is slated to end on Sept. 30.

  • Schumer on Tuesday urged for the moratorium to be extended, saying the president should give people a "chance to recover" from the pandemic.
  • Earlier this month, the administration canceled $55.6 million in student loan debt for victims of for-profit college fraud.
  • Biden has already indicated that he would be unwilling to cancel more than $10,000 per borrower.

What they're saying: “The president can’t do it — so that’s not even a discussion,” Pelosi said during a news conference.

  • "Not everybody realizes that, but the president can only postpone, delay but not forgive student loans. It would take an act of Congress, not an executive order, to cancel student loan debt," she continued.
  • “The administration has the power to do this with the stroke of a pen, so we're calling on them to do it,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said, per Politico.

Go deeper

NYC to expand debt relief for cab drivers after 2-week hunger strike

New York City taxi drivers and their supporters demand debt relief at rally in the second week of their hunger strike outside City Hall. Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty Images

A deal with New York City's largest taxi loan holder will rescue thousands of cab drivers facing financial ruin after being forced to take on crushing debt due to exploitative practices.

Why it matters: New York officials reached the agreement after a two-week hunger strike by members of the city's largest taxi drivers union, who called on the city to expand a debt relief program for drivers.

House Democrats plow ahead with social spending bill

Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democratic leaders say they're undeterred by a poor showing in Tuesday’s elections, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing steps to advance President Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending package.

Driving the news: Pelosi announced in a letter to House Democrats new text for the bill, which will be presented to the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, a step toward an eventual vote in the House. She also said it will include a provision for paid family leave.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.