Biden Acts Fast on Affirmative Action, Student Loan Debt After Being Caught Flat-Footed on Abortion



President Joe Biden was roundly criticized last year by members of his own Democratic Party when the White House had no immediate plan of action to deal with the Supreme Court's stunning ruling taking away the guaranteed right to an abortion.

This week, the administration was ready.

Almost immediately after the high court Thursday handed down a decision upending affirmative action, the White House was out with a fact sheet with guidance for higher educational institutions on ways to ensure access for people of color without defying the high court. In a detailed plan – which accompanied a speech by the president – the White House also announced it will convene a national summit on educational opportunity and direct the Department of Education to deliver a report by September outlining strategies to increase student body diversity.Friday, the White House went into rapid-response mode again after the Supreme Court ruled that Biden's student loan debt forgiveness plan was unconstitutional. Within hours, the White House announced an afternoon presidential speech and a briefing with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on exactly what the administration would do to provide student debt relief.

"We're not going to waste any time on this," Biden said in remarks at the White House on Friday, the second day running he has addressed a Supreme Court ruling. He acknowledged, however, that his plan – which involves using Department of Education authority to waive or release loans under certain circumstances – would take longer to implement than his rejected debt relief plan, for which 16 million people had already been approved.

Allies denounced the high court ruling but hailed the expeditious response from the White House.

"I applaud the president for announcing the policy immediately," Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told MSNBC on Friday, though noting that the new plan would not be as quick, since the Education Department will have to go through the rule-making process.

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