OnPolitics: White House taking 'hard look' at student loan debt relief

"I want every American to know that I’m taking inflation very seriously," President Joe Biden says.

Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers! 

President Joe Biden is asking Congress for another $33 billion to help Ukraine resist Russia's invasion and provide humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people.

The proposal, which the White House will send to lawmakers on Thursday, includes $20 billion in additional security and military assistance for Ukraine, another $8 billion for economic assistance and $3 billion in humanitarian aid.

The administration said it also will seek authority to streamline the process for seizure of sanctioned Russian assets and use the proceeds to help Ukraine in its war with Russia.

“The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we let it happen," Biden said from the White House. “We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country, or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine."

The funding request, which comes as the war is in its ninth week, would more than double the $13.6 billion package of defense and economic aid for Ukraine and Western allies that Congress passed last month. Biden has nearly exhausted that aid.

Latest updates from Ukraine: Ukraine and Russia exchanged prisoners Thursday, with 45 Ukrainians, including 5 wounded soldiers and 12 civilians, among those freed, Ukraine authorities said. No information was immediately available on Russians freed by Ukraine.

It's Amy and Chelsey with today's top stories out of Washington. 

Biden looking at student loan debt forgiveness, but less than $50K

As pressure grows from progressives to offer relief for student loan borrowers, President Joe Biden said Thursday he is considering using executive authority in the coming weeks to cancel student loan debt — but less than $50,000.

"I am considering dealing with some debt reduction," Biden said to a question from USA TODAY. "I'm in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not ... there will be additional debt forgiveness, and I'll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks."

Biden did not answer when asked what amount he's looking at canceling. The president is facing mounting pressure to offer widespread debt relief to student loan borrowers as the administration continues to pause student loan payments.

On the campaign trail, Biden promised to cancel at least $10,000 of each American's student debt. Biden on Thursday said that he is not considering a $50,000 debt reduction — a number that some lawmakers said the president has the authority to forgive.

When did the freeze on payments begin? In March 2020, the federal government froze the requirement that the nation's 41 million borrowers pay back their federal student loans. Biden extended the moratorium until August 31 after it was going to expire in May.

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Federal judge temporarily blocks lifting of Title 42

A federal judge Wednesday issued an order to temporarily block the Biden administration from ending Title 42, a Trump-era policy requiring the expulsion of migrants from U.S. borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in April it would end the policy on May 23 because it is "no longer necessary" after "considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19."

A lawsuit was brought by 21 Republican-led states after the CDC’s announcement.

U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays said the order – in effect for 14 days – bans the Biden administration from taking some actions, such as increasing the processing of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador under Title 8 instead of Title 42. Some migrants may be eligible to legally seek asylum or other immigration relief under Title 8, which establishes when a migrant is ineligible for a visa or admission into the the country.

The administration is allowed to grant exemptions to the policy on a case-by-case basis, according to the order.

April is Autism Acceptance Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 44 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. — Amy and Chelsey