Biden reportedly to announce $10,000 in student debt relief – live

President Joe Biden will today announce as much as $10,000 in student debt relief for millions of American borrowers, as well as up to $20,000 in relief for borrowers who received a Pell Grant, according US media reports.

The White House has been debating how much student debt relief to offer for months, after Biden made the issue part of his pitch to voters on the 2020 campaign trail. The announcement of the aid is expected later today, once Biden returns to the White House from vacation.

According to Politico, “The loan relief will be limited to borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year or families earning less than $250,000. In addition, the White House plans to extend the moratorium on monthly payments and interest for a ‘final time’ through Dec. 31.”

Politico reports Biden’s fellow Democrats were lobbying him as recently as last night to aggressively cancel debt, while some groups say the amounts proposed won’t be enough:

Progressives, civil rights organizations and labor unions have all urged the Biden administration to provide large amounts — as much as $50,000 per borrower — of loan forgiveness to people across-the-board. And they signaled on Tuesday their disappointment with any policy that stops short of sweeping relief.

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, made clear that $10,000 of debt relief per borrower would be insufficient for addressing the racial inequities in student loan debt. “If the rumors are true, we’ve got a problem,” Johnson said in a statement.

“President Biden’s decision on student debt cannot become the latest example of a policy that has left Black people — especially Black women — behind,” he added. “This is not how you treat Black voters who turned out in record numbers and provided 90 percent of their vote to once again save democracy in 2020.”

The White House has just announced president Joe Biden will make a speech at 2:15 pm eastern time to outline his student debt relief measures. He has also tweeted the basics of his proposal:

In keeping with my campaign promise, my Administration is announcing a plan to give working and middle class families breathing room as they prepare to resume federal student loan payments in January 2023.

I’ll have more details this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/kuZNqoMe4I

— President Biden (@POTUS) August 24, 2022

The GOP is teeing up their counter-attack to Biden’s impending announcement on student debt relief, decrying it as a “bribe” that will be paid for by American taxpayers.

Here’s what the Senate Republicans said on Twitter:

Once again, Joe Biden is passing the buck to working class Americans.

Over half of student loans are held by people who went to grad school but Joe Biden wants you to pay for it.

— Senate Republicans (@SenateGOP) August 23, 2022

Arkansas senator Tom Cotton:

Americans who paid off student loans or never borrowed for school just took on $300 billion in new debt, thanks to Biden’s shameless bribe.

— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) August 24, 2022

Biden owes Americans an explanation on why a truck driver who didn’t go to college is now responsible for the student loans of a rich lawyer.

— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) August 24, 2022

Texas senator Ted Cruz cast it as worsening the ongoing inflation:

The average cost per taxpayer is…$2100.

Wow.#Bidenflation https://t.co/q0VyCJ2vAA

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 24, 2022

The Guardian’s Lauren Aratani has more on American students’ mammoth debt load, how it became a political issue for Joe Biden and whether his proposed relief will make much of a difference:

America’s students have a debt problem. A big one. More than 45 million Americans – more than the population of California – now owe a collective $1.7tn in student debt.

The vast majority of the money is owed to the federal government, which has been backing or directly offering student loans for higher education since 1958. While student loans are not new in the United States, the amount of student debt has more than tripled over the last 16 years.

Joe Biden is expected to announce on Wednesday a cancellation of a large swath of student debt to address the crisis, the first large cancellation in US history. Borrowers making under $125,000 could see $10,000 shaved off their debt. Most borrowers will qualify for some cancellation. For at least 15 million, that means complete erasure of their debt.

Student debt will remain a hot political issue. Understanding the impact of such a dramatic policy requires unpacking the student debt crisis, beginning with its origins.

President Joe Biden will today announce as much as $10,000 in student debt relief for millions of American borrowers, as well as up to $20,000 in relief for borrowers who received a Pell Grant, according US media reports.

The White House has been debating how much student debt relief to offer for months, after Biden made the issue part of his pitch to voters on the 2020 campaign trail. The announcement of the aid is expected later today, once Biden returns to the White House from vacation.

According to Politico, “The loan relief will be limited to borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year or families earning less than $250,000. In addition, the White House plans to extend the moratorium on monthly payments and interest for a ‘final time’ through Dec. 31.”

Politico reports Biden’s fellow Democrats were lobbying him as recently as last night to aggressively cancel debt, while some groups say the amounts proposed won’t be enough:

Progressives, civil rights organizations and labor unions have all urged the Biden administration to provide large amounts — as much as $50,000 per borrower — of loan forgiveness to people across-the-board. And they signaled on Tuesday their disappointment with any policy that stops short of sweeping relief.

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, made clear that $10,000 of debt relief per borrower would be insufficient for addressing the racial inequities in student loan debt. “If the rumors are true, we’ve got a problem,” Johnson said in a statement.

“President Biden’s decision on student debt cannot become the latest example of a policy that has left Black people — especially Black women — behind,” he added. “This is not how you treat Black voters who turned out in record numbers and provided 90 percent of their vote to once again save democracy in 2020.”

The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports on the latest in Donald Trump’s response to the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, in which the former president has apparently admitted to having documents he should not have at his Florida resort:

Donald Trump appeared to concede in his court filing surrounding the seizure of materials from his Florida resort that he unlawfully retained official government documents, as the former president argued that some of the documents collected by the FBI could be subject to executive privilege.

The motion submitted on Monday by the former president’s lawyers argued that a court should appoint a so-called special master to separate out and determine what materials the justice department can review as evidence due to privilege issues.

But the argument from Trump that some of the documents are subject to executive privilege protections indicates that those documents are official records that he is not authorized to keep and should have turned over to the National Archives at the end of the administration.

A Republican lawmaker who had his phone seized as part of an investigation into attempts to meddle with the 2020 election filed a lawsuit to stop the justice department from reviewing its data, Politico reports.

Federal agents took Pennsylvania House representative and Donald Trump ally Scott Perry’s phone earlier this month. The lawmaker has been mentioned as involved in the attempt by Trump to install a loyalist at the top of the justice department in order to interfere with the results of the 2020 election. He also is among the Republicans who asked Trump for a pardon.

“[F]ederal agents should not be given carte blanche to root around in Rep. Perry’s phone data looking for evidence that they hope might further their investigation,” the lawmaker’s attorneys wrote in the lawsuit, Politico reports.

Democrats in a deeply conservative Florida district have chosen as their congressional candidate Rebekah Jones, a former health department employee who was a fierce critic of governor Ron DeSantis’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the New York Times reports.

Jones will go up against Republican congressman Matt Gaetz in a district viewed as a safe for the GOP, despite the lawmaker’s scandals. Jones burst into the public spotlight during the pandemic’s early months after being fired from her job and accusing DeSantis of mishandling Covid-19 cases, though she is under investigation herself. Here’s a brief recap from the Times:

That clash put a spotlight on Ms. Jones in 2020, when she claimed that she had been fired from her government job for refusing to suppress virus data from the public. In what became a monthslong saga, Ms. Jones filed a whistle-blower complaint, turned into a vocal critic of Mr. DeSantis and was eventually criminally charged with accessing a state computer and downloading a file without authorization.

The criminal case against Ms. Jones is pending. In May, an inspector general for the Department of Health found that three allegations that Ms. Jones had made against several health officials were “unsubstantiated.”

In Florida, Democrats picked Charlie Crist as their candidate to stand against governor Ron DeSantis in November, in what will be a test of whether voters are on board with the Republican’s culture war offensive:

Charlie Crist will challenge Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, in November after trouncing Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner, in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Crist, a former Republican governor of Florida who switched parties and became a Democratic congressman, fought a campaign touting his experience in office and opposition to the 15-week abortion ban signed by DeSantis.

In his victory speech in St Petersburg, Crist promised that if elected he will on his first day in office sign an executive order overturing the abortion law.

And he pledged to end the White House hopes of “wannabe dictator” DeSantis, who is tipped as a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. DeSantis has signed a raft of culture war legislation in Florida, attacking LBGTQ+ rights and “woke” corporations.

Here’s more from Reuters on the Democratic victory in upstate New York last night:

A New York Democrat who campaigned on abortion rights and the future of US democracy has won a special congressional election in a swing district, a victory that Democrats hope could signal a fundamental shift in national voter sentiment ahead of the November midterm elections.

Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro 51.3% to 48.7%, with 99% of the vote counted, Edison Research said, after a hard-fought contest for an open seat in New York’s 19th congressional District, which spans part of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains region and is known as a bellwether.

The election took on outsized national importance and became a testing ground for both parties’ campaign strategies. Ryan made the US supreme court’s decision to overturn abortion rights a centrepiece of his campaign, mobilising Democrats outraged by the ruling. Molinaro focused on crime and soaring inflation that voters say is their most pressing concern.

Democrats have the slimmest of majorities in Congress, and thus it’s not hard to see how they could lose the House and potentially the Senate in the November midterms.

Joe Biden’s unpopularity is one thing working against them, and then there’s the historic tendency for the party in power to lose big in their first midterm – as Donald Trump found out in 2018, and Barack Obama eight years before that.

The lesson Democrats are drawing from Pat Ryan’s victory over Republican Marc Molinaro in a closely divided upstate New York House district is that this will be no ordinary year. Ryan won by capitalizing on the supreme court’s Dobbs decision ending nearly a half-century of nationwide abortion rights, and Democrats are no doubt hoping the dynamic repeats in races across the country.

Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report largely agreed that Ryan’s victory indicated Democratic voters were unusually fired up, but warned that may not translate to a continued majority in the House:

Lots of focus on Dems being more engaged/energetic post-Dobbs, which is undeniably true. But to me, the GOP/Trump base appears less engaged than it was last November, which is just as big a part of the story.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 24, 2022

If not for a devastating string of legal defeats towards the end of redistricting (esp. FL, NY, OH), Dems might have a good shot to hold the House. As it stands, still believe Rs are clear favorites in a higher-turnout scenario, which November will be.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 24, 2022

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Democrats scored a victory in upstate New York last night, when a candidate who had campaigned on protecting abortion rights triumphed over his Republican challenger for a vacant seat in the House of Representatives. The victory has given the party hope that they have a shot at keeping their majorities in Congress in November’s midterm election, despite President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and voters’ historical tendency to punish the party holding the White House. Expect to hear plenty more about what this result portends today.

Here’s what else is on the agenda:

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Marisa Pravdavish