- Sen. Warren told Pod Save America that Biden should immediately cancel student debt and legalize marijuana.
- She said student debt and cannabis offenses unevenly impact people of color.
- Biden promised to act on both issues during his campaign but has yet to take executive action.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said President Joe Biden could do two things immediately to stimulate the economy and close the racial wealth gap: cancel student debt and legalize marijuana.
Warren, a leader in fighting for student-loan reforms and forgiveness and for decriminalizing marijuana, spoke to Pod Save America on Thursday explaining how the two issues are connected. She said that student debt has "a powerful racial justice issue to it," because it disproportionately impacts Black borrowers, and the issue is the same for marijuana offenses: there are racial disparities in the enforcement of cannabis laws.
"What's your best resource as a nation? It's your people," Warren said. "These people who should be part of our economy, part of our society."
—Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) November 19, 2021
Warren called on Biden to use his executive powers to cancel student debt and legalize marijuana, saying it would be "the single best opportunity for the President of the United States to help close the Black/white wealth gap."
"So there you are, Joe Biden," she said. "Two things you can do for our economy, for racial justice. We just need your signature on two different pieces of paper."
In October, Warren and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called on the Department of Justice to decriminalize cannabis and remove it from the federally-controlled substances list. Last week, Warren joined a few of her Democratic colleagues in calling on Biden to use his executive authority to pardon all people convicted of federal non-violent cannabis offenses.
During his campaign, Biden promised to legalize marijuana and said that "everyone [with a marijuana record] should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out." Warren and her colleagues asked Biden to fufill his promise and "act swiftly on behalf of the countless Americans punished by the country's senseless cannabis laws."
Similarly, Biden promised during his campaign to sign legislation to cancel $10,000 in student debt, but Warren has remained adamant that legislation is not the route to go and the president can get the job done immediately with the stroke of a pen.
As Insider has reported, Biden's administration says it is examining the president's legal ability to fulfill Warren's proposal of $50,000 in student-debt cancellation per borrower, but recently released documents found that Biden has known whether he can legally cancel that amount since at least April.
And with the pandemic pause on student-loan payments lifting in two months, Warren and other Democrats are keeping pressure on the president to cancel student debt before 43 million federal borrowers are thrown back into repayment.
"Cancelling $50,000 in student debt would completely wipe out student loans for 84% of borrowers, including more than 3 million borrowers who have been repaying their loans for more than 20 years," Warren previously told Insider. "This is the single most effective executive action President Biden could take to jumpstart our economy and begin to narrow the racial wealth gap."