In interviews on Sunday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) warned Democrats that they need to make moves to protect and uplift the American people if they want to have a chance at winning in this year’s midterm elections, including taking steps like canceling student debt.
On CNN and CBS, Warren said that Democrats need to “get up and deliver” on issues like corporate price gouging and banning Congress from trading stocks. As she did in an op-ed for The New York Times last week, Warren emphasized that student loans are a huge economic barrier for many families, and that millions of Americans aren’t ready for student loan payments to restart.
“We’ve got less than 200 days until the election, and American families are hurting. Our job while we are here in the majority is to deliver on behalf of those families,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding, “If we don’t get up and deliver, I think Democrats are going to lose.”
Warren emphasized that Democrats need to act on issues that are actively affecting average families. “Democrats win when Democrats are in touch with the American people and what’s happening to them,” she said, pointing out that many families are struggling to afford groceries or fill up their gas tanks in order to get to work. “Instead of looking backwards, let’s look forward. Let’s get done what we can get done for the American people who elected us.”
The Massachusetts Democrat confirmed on CNN that she would not be running for president again in 2024, as President Joe Biden will presumably run again. Last week, a leaked memo revealed that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has not ruled out running again in 2024 if Biden doesn’t put in a reelection bid.
Warren also said that Democrats could easily act on student debt between now and the midterms. “Look, we know that the president has the authority to cancel student loan debt and the best way we know that is because President Obama did it, President Trump did it, and President Biden has now done it repeatedly,” she said. “The power is clearly there.”
Indeed, Data for Progress and Rise polling has found that, in key battleground states, nearly half of likely voters say that they would vote in 2022 if Biden took action to cancel some amount of student loans. The polling finds that, if student debt is canceled, Democrats could gain six points among young voters in those states.
Warren’s call to action comes as Biden is swiftly losing ground among young voters, a crucial group that voted for Biden by a huge margin in 2020. Inaction on student debt could also affect Biden’s chances in the 2024 presidential race.
Polling by Intelligent.com last month found that roughly one-fifth of Democrats say they wouldn’t vote for Biden in the next presidential election if he doesn’t take action on student loans, with about a third of Americans saying that they are dissatisfied with how Biden has handled the student loan crisis so far.
Biden has refused to follow up on his campaign promise to cancel up to $10,000 of student debt for each borrower. He recently extended the student loan payment pause and moved millions of borrowers out of default status, but progressive lawmakers and debt activists say that he still needs to do more.
Canceling student debt “would lift the economic outlook for too many borrowers who still weren’t able to get a college diploma, for the millions of female borrowers who shoulder about two-thirds of all student loan debt, and for Black and Hispanic borrowers, a higher percentage of whom take on debt to attend college compared to white students, and have a harder time paying it off after school,” Warren wrote last week. “With the stroke of a pen, the president could make massive strides to close gender and racial wealth gaps.”
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