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'The Squad' Pushes for Huge Student Loan Cancellation in Next Relief Bill

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Some House Democrats have decided that the COVID-19 pandemic is an appropriate time to implement a key plank of the campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — who make up the self-described group dubbed “the squad” — are joining with other House Democrats who want to toss a provision into the next COVID-19 relief bill that would cancel at least $30,000 in student loan debt for everybody who owes on their federal student loans.

The proposal comes at a time when Forbes has calculated the median student loan debt at $17,000.

“Millions of Americans are struggling to survive right now,” Omar said, according to a news release posted on the website of Democratic Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina.

“It’s unconscionable to ask people to make a student loan payment during this time of mass uncertainty. In Minnesota, over 72 percent of graduates of were in debt at graduation, the second highest in the nation.

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“We need to act urgently to provide much needed debt relief for the 45 million Americans shackled by student debt. Our country is dealing with an unprecedented crisis and we need to provide much needed relief. Canceling student debt is one of many steps needed for economic recovery.”

Pressley claimed that race was an issue on student loan debt that needed to be addressed.

“This public health crisis has unveiled many of the deeply entrenched racial and economic inequities that have plagued our communities for generations,” she said.

Is wiping out student loan debt a bad idea?

“The $1.6 trillion student debt crisis disproportionately impacts our Black and brown communities, exacerbating the racial and gender wealth gap and pushing those already living on the margins closer to the edge.”

“No one should have to choose between paying their student loan payment, putting food on the table, or keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy. We need across the board student debt cancellation now to provide urgently needed relief for the more than 45 million student loan borrowers and ensure our recovery efforts leave no community behind.”

Adams claimed that wiping away debt would create 1.5 million jobs.

A letter sent by Adams and other House Democrats — including members of “the squad” — who support the proposal noted that this is an issue that predates the coronavirus.

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“Long before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our economy, 45 million Americans were crushed by more than $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, hindering their ability to purchase a home, start a business, save for retirement and even start a family,” the letter claimed.

“The unequal burden of this debt has fallen most heavily on low-income workers and families, communities of color, seniors and even veterans who attended for-profit colleges. Across the nation, 9 million individuals are in default, and every 26 seconds another borrower falls further behind,” it added.

But the sheer magnitude of the current crisis requires “decisive action,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The crisis therefore requires more than temporary or piece meal relief efforts. Congress must take bold, decisive action to ensure that all will equitably benefit from our nation’s relief efforts,” they said.

The American Council on Education has pushed back against broad-based loan forgiveness.

In an April 20 letter to the leaders of the House, the group focused on low interest and reforms to allow individuals to pay back their loans.

“In addition, we recognize that a large number of proposals have been advanced to forgive some amount of student debt for borrowers in repayment. If Congress pursues such a policy, we urge that it pay particular attention to the scope of such a program and the capacity of the Department of Education to implement it,” the letter said.

“Any large-scale debt relief initiative would prove very expensive, and may benefit high income and other borrowers who do not require assistance in meeting their obligations. Therefore, we believe that any debt relief program should be targeted to borrowers who are financially distressed and face the greatest difficulty repaying their loans.”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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