The AFL-CIO on Thursday urged President Biden to forgive student loans, putting additional pressure on the White House to cancel at least some of the nation’s $1.6 trillion in student loan debt.
“The Biden administration’s decision to continue to pause student debt made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many borrowers, but these borrowers still live with the uncertainty of not knowing when they will need to drastically alter their finances in order to begin repaying their loans,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement.
“Now is the time to cancel, not collect, student debt.”
The statement comes after President Biden told reporters earlier last month that his administration is planning “additional debt forgiveness.” The Biden administration has canceled $17 billion in student debt, roughly 1 percent of the nation’s total, and recently extended a freeze on student loan payments until Aug. 31.
The White House is considering expunging at least $10,000 in student debt per borrower, a move that would fulfill a key Biden campaign promise.
Biden, who pledged to be the most pro-union president in history, has close ties with the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation that represents 12.5 million union workers.
“Organized labor was built on the foundation of creating a pathway to the middle class for everyone, but skyrocketing student loan debt has become insurmountable obstacle to achieving this goal,” Shuler said.
The labor federation joins a host of influential organizations in calling for student debt cancellation. The NAACP last month urged Biden to cancel at least $50,000 in student debt, making the case that $10,000 “is not enough.”