House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday appeared to distance herself Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats who are calling on President Biden to cancel student debt via executive action.
"People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness," Pelosi said while addressing orders. "He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That ... has to be an act of Congress."
Schumer has previously said Biden needs only to "flick his pen" to sign forgiveness into action. Of course, making it a law, however unlikely, would theoretically prevent a future president from simply undoing an executive order, so Pelosi's argument does favor a more long-term solution for Democrats.
That said, it's not entirely clear where the speaker falls on the issue. On Wednesday, she advocated for making college more affordable and attainable for Americans, but also seemed to signal that she wasn't fully on board with debt cancellation since it could face backlash from people whose children don't plan on pursuing tertiary education.