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NAACP president bashes Biden’s reported plans on student debt relief

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, has bashed the Biden administration’s reported plans on student debt relief, saying it is another policy that will leave Black people behind. 

“If the rumors are true, we’ve got a problem. And tragically, we’ve experienced this so many times before. The interstate highway system devastated Black communities,” Johnson said in a statement on Tuesday. “Welfare reform tossed poor people of color by the wayside.” 

Johnson pointed out that the anticipated $10,000 in forgiveness for every borrower in addition to a payment pause extension are not enough, especially for Black people.

Johnson also noted the lawmakers’ recent failure to pass several pieces of legislation that would have positive impacts on Black voters, such as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“The senate’s failure to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act failed to save Black lives. President Biden’s decision on student debt cannot become the latest example of a policy that has left Black people – especially Black women – behind,” Johnson added. 

“This is not how you treat Black voters who turned out in record numbers and provided 90% of their vote to once again save democracy in 2020,” he concluded. 

Johnson’s remarks come as the Biden administration plans to announce on Wednesday the cancellation of federal student loan debts and an extension of the existing payment pause as well. 

The intended measure will include $10,000 in loan forgiveness for borrowers who make less than $125,000 annually, which would be the largest loan forgiveness of student loans per borrower in history, and an extension of the payment pause for at least four months. 

Johnson and his organization have been pressing Biden on this issue for months, urging the administration to cancel at least $50,000 in student loan debt for borrowers, saying in a previous statement that canceling only $10,000 in student loans “is not enough.” 

“President Biden, student loan debt is a racial and economic justice issue that stains the Soul of America,”  the organization’s national youth and college director, Wisdom Cole, said in an April statement. “With each and every repayment extension, you make a stronger case for canceling it.” 

“At this point, just cancel it. $50,000 is the bare minimum.” Cole added. “$10,000 is not enough.”

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