Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference outside of the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, November 19, 2020. (Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

'Now Let's Cancel Them,' Demands AOC as Biden Extends Pause on Student Loan Payments

"Biden can cancel all $1.7 trillion of student debt by executive order," said The Debt Collective.

Jake Johnson

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez late Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to immediately cancel student loan payments after the president signed an order extending an existing pause through at least the end of September.

"OK now let's cancel them," the New York Democrat tweeted in response to Biden's order, which directs the Education Department to freeze "federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%."

"Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families," the White House said in a statement. "They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table."

While the extension of the payment freeze was a welcome day-one action by Biden, progressives have long argued that the president has the legal authority—and a moral obligation—to unilaterally cancel the student loan debt that is saddling tens of millions of Americans.

But last month, as Common Dreams reported, Biden claimed it is "questionable" whether the president can legally cancel student loan debt via executive order and said he is "unlikely to do that." Instead of taking executive action, Biden has proposed canceling $10,000 in federal student debt per borrower through legislation.

Alexis Goldstein, a senior policy analyst with Americans for Financial Reform, said at the time that "it simply isn't correct to say the legal authority to cancel student debt via executive action is 'questionable.'"

"The authority is clear, documented, and even the Trump administration used executive authority to cancel student loan interest payments, twice," Goldstein noted.

Just ahead of Biden's inauguration Wednesday, The Debt Collective union launched the Biden Jubilee 100, an initiative that consists of  "100 student debt strikers refusing to pay back their student loans until President Biden cancels all student debt—which he has the power to do immediately!"

"Our communities are struggling in the midst of the Covid pandemic," reads the The Debt Collective's website. "Millions of us are facing eviction and food insecurity, while suffering from exploding medical costs, rising tuition, unpayable bills, and the perpetual fear of illness. Joe Biden and his administration need to act immediately... And we're going to make him do it."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Breaking: FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids 5 to 11

With just one abstention, the advisory panel voted 17-0 to approve the vaccine for younger children which scientific review has deemed both safe and effective against the deadly virus.

Common Dreams staff ·



Latest UN Climate Report Delivers 'Another Thundering Wake-Up Call'

"Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem," said the UNEP executive director. "The clock is ticking loudly."

Jessica Corbett ·


Climate Movement Hails 'Mind-Blowing' $40 Trillion in Fossil Fuel Divestment Pledges

"Institutions around the world must step up now and commit to joining the divest-invest movement before it is too late—for them, for the economy, and for the world."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Really Fantastic': Europe's Largest Pension Fund Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment

It's "a huge victory for the climate, human rights, and all life on Earth," said one activist.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo