Schumer pushing Biden to forgive up to $50K in student loan debt

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 February 2021 at 9:52 am

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer is pressing the Biden administration to forgive up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower, saying it would help to jump-start the economy.

Biden is open to cancelling $10,000 to student loan debt per borrower. Schumer and other members of Congress want to see Biden do more. The senator from New York was joined at a news conference last week at the U.S. Capitol with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York. They called on Biden to take action on student loan debt.

“This debt holds people back from buying cars, going on vacations, from starting families,” Schumer said during the news conference. “It’s a huge anchor on the entire economy.”

Schumer said the debt is a “Civil Rights issue” with people of color bearing far more debt. He said the federal government charges people an “outrageous rate of 7 percent” on student loans.

Warren said wiping out $50,000 in student loan debt would result in more people starting businesses, buying homes, and spending more to stimulate the economy.

Pressley said the mounting student loan debt, more likely for people of color, is a form of “policy violence.” Biden could cancel student debt by executive action, providing relief to millions of families, Pressley said.

Schumer and Warren said more than 43 million people in the United States are weighed down by $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt.

“The Covid-19 crisis is worsening the massive inequities in our economy and society, but even before the pandemic the student loan debt crisis was already crushing millions of Americans,” Warren said. “By cancelling up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers, President Biden can take the single most effective executive action available to provide a massive stimulus to our economy, help narrow the racial wealth gap, and lift this impossible burden off of tens of millions of families.”

More than 300 civil rights, climate, health, labor, consumer rights, and student organizations have called on President Biden to cancel federal student debt using executive action, including American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, The Education Trust, Hispanic Federation, NAACP, National Urban League, UnidosUS, League of United Latin American Citizens, Minority Veterans of America, National Women’s Law Center, SEIU, the American Psychological Association, Sunrise Movement, the United States Student Association, and Young Invincibles, Warren said in a news release.

“During a time of historic and overlapping crises, which are disproportionately impacting communities of color, we must do everything in our power to deliver real relief to the American people, lift up our struggling economy and close the racial wealth gap,” Schumer said. “Democrats are committed to big, bold action, and this resolution to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt is one of the strongest steps the president can take to achieve these goals.”