ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden traveled to the Western U.S. on Thursday as part of his final major campaign swing ahead of the midterm elections.
At his first stop, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Biden touted the benefits of his student debt relief plan. He is also scheduled to headline a rally for Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham — who is trying to fend off Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti.
In mid-October, the Biden administration officially kicked off the application process for the debt cancellation program and announced that millions of borrowers had already applied for loan relief during the federal government’s soft launch period.
While a judge has temporarily halted Biden’s plan to relieve debt for those struggling with student loans, Biden told NewsNation last week he believes checks will be going out within weeks.
The program allows eligible borrowers bringing in less than $125,000 a year to receive up to $10,000 in federal student loans forgiveness. Those who had Pell Grants may be able to have up to $20,000 in debt forgiven.
Biden’s plan is based on the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act from 2003. It allows the Education Secretary to waive debt in times of national emergency.
Critics of the plan argue the national emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic is over and the act should not be used across the board, so the basis of the debt forgiveness plan is not justifiable.
After his stop in Albuquerque, Biden is scheduled to make appearances in California, Illinois and Pennsylvania over the weekend. On Monday, he will head to a rally in Maryland.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.