Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced a resolution on Thursday that could cancel federal student loan debt up to $50,000 per student.
In a news release, Schumer, D-N.Y. and Warren, D-Mass., urged President Donald Trump to take executive action to forgive the debt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“For far too long the sunny, American optimism of our young people has been clouded by crippling student debt,” Schumer said. “Education is supposed to be a ladder up, but studies have shown that student loans hold people back and prevent young college graduates from owning homes or starting small businesses. This holds our entire economy back, which we cannot afford after the financial devastation of COVID. That is why I will prioritize student debt forgiveness in 2021.”
The plan proposed by Schumer and Warren would ensure there is no tax liability for borrowers resulting from administrative debt collection, WGRZ reported.
“Broadly canceling student loan debt will improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans, give a boost to our economy during this pandemic and beyond and even help close the racial wealth gap,” Warren told reporters in a conference call. “Our resolution outlines a bold plan for the president to use existing authority under law to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for all borrowers with federal loans.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 43 million adults currently have a federal student loan, CNBC reported. The department has offered some relief by pausing payments on federal student loans until the end of the year, the network reported.
“The current public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the urgency to respond to a student loan crisis that continues to disproportionately affect Black borrowers and other borrowers of color, women, veterans and low-income families,” Ashley Harrington, the advocacy director and senior counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, said in a statement. “We applaud Senators Warren and Schumer for drafting a plan that would provide crucial student debt relief to at least 44 million borrowers who owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loans.”
Schumer said the plan will provide complete forgiveness of student loans for more than 75% of borrowers nationwide and at least some debt forgiveness for 95% of people with student loan debt, according to a news release.
According to The Hill, the resolution is targeted at Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, noting that President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have opposed previous attempts to forgive federal student debt.
“We know that President Trump and (Education) Secretary (Betsy) DeVos have been totally against things like this. We understand that. But the next president could easily do this,” Schumer said. “We want to start getting people focused on this issue as a major issue that could be dealt with early next year."
Joining the resolution are senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Cox Media Group