Is Vice President Kamala Harris not on board with President Biden’s agenda on student debt? One prominent publication says she’s wary of getting involved.
According to Politico’s “West Wing Playbook,” Harris refused to appear in a social media video with Biden in April to promote another pause on federal student loan payments.
While her office had initially collaborated with the White House on a video, like they had done in December, Harris ultimately settled for releasing a statement.
In it, she said that she and Biden “understand that student loan debt adds stress for borrowers and their families. We’re continuing the pause on federal student loan repayments through August 31, 2022. This pause will help 41 million people keep up with their monthly bills and meet their basic needs.”
.@POTUS and I understand that student loan debt adds stress for borrowers and their families. We're continuing the pause on federal student loan repayments through August 31, 2022. This pause will help 41 million people keep up with their monthly bills and meet their basic needs.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) April 6, 2022
However, Politico reported Harris doesn’t want to be associated with the Biden administration’s debt forgiveness push, which could end up writing off between $10,000 and $50,000 in student loan debt, if reports are to be believed.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in late April that the president was close to forgiving up to $50,000 in debt.
“I’ll keep urging the president to take this important step. And I say to my colleagues, I think the president is moving in our direction,” Schumer said, according to Fox News. “My talks with him and his staff have been very fruitful over the last little while and I am hopeful that he will do the right thing. We’re getting closer.”
This has left Kamala skittish, apparently.
“The vice president has been increasingly wary of becoming part of the public face of the administration’s response,” Politico reported.
“Privately, Harris has advocated for additional loan forgiveness. One White House source said her office seemed initially eager to participate in the administration’s public dialogue around student loans,” they reported, noting that the veep is “conscious of progressives pushing Biden to unilaterally cancel tens of thousands of dollars in student debt and that Biden is resisting such lobbying.”
Commentators, particularly of the conservative variety, noted how even the Biden administration’s vice president was distancing herself from her boss.
“Team player,” the Washington Free Beacon’s Chuck Ross sarcastically tweeted, according to Fox News.
“Curious what she thinks her next step in politics is. Don’t think POTUS is in her future. Maybe San Fran mayor.”
“Is there a Democrat in the country who will appear with Joe Biden?” asked conservative commentator Scott Jennings.
Others noted that Biden’s potential student loan forgiveness was nowhere near as progressive as it seems.
“The more debt that is forgiven, the more the policy is REGRESSIVE, not PROGRESSIVE,” said Rachel Larimore, managing editor at The Dispatch.
“Student debt cancellation isn’t really a progressive policy at all if working class Americans are expected to fund it. It’s another massive upward wealth transfer,” tweeted Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. “The only way it would be truly fair is if universities themselves had to fund it, alongside reforms to the system.”
Once that becomes clear, however, the program will become increasingly unpopular — and it looks like even Kamala’s gotten the message.