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House Democrats unveil legislation to forgive student loans for health care workers

House Democrats unveil legislation to forgive student loans for health care workers
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneySafeguarding US elections by sanctioning Russian sovereign debt Fears grow of voter suppression in Texas OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Top general negative for coronavirus, Pentagon chief to get tested after Trump result l Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would create a loan forgiveness program for front-line health care workers. 

The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act, which is co-signed by nine other House Democrats, seeks to establish a federal and private loan forgiveness program. All medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, medical residents, interns and technicians, would be eligible. 

“Health care workers are worrying about their own health and how it will affect their families,” Maloney said in a statement. “They should not have to worry about their financial security after the crisis has passed.”

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In March, Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPerdue's rival raises nearly M after senator mispronounces Kamala Harris's name Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair MORE (D-Mass.) introduced a bill that would include widespread student loan forgiveness, but it was capped at $30,000 and applied only to public loans. The bill introduced this week does not have a cap, though Maloney said a bill directed toward first responders is more likely to gain bipartisan support. 

The bill also comes as state governments begin to mull what compensation for their health care workers and first responders will look like.

Last month, New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCalifornia plans to review coronavirus vaccine independently Cuomo: Public should be 'very skeptical' about COVID-19 vaccine The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters MORE (D) called on the federal government to institute a federal hazard pay program that would increase pay for health professionals by 50 percent during the pandemic. According to ABC, many responded to Cuomo's proposal by asking for a loan forgiveness program instead. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) last week announced a program modeled after the post-World War II GI Bill that would provide tuition-free education for essential workers.