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 MaloneyFired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Ousted watchdog says he told top State aides about Pompeo probe Overnight Health Care: White House shifts focus from coronavirus | House Democrats seek information on coronavirus vaccine contracts | Governors detail frustrations with Trump over COVID-19 supplies 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 PressleyMinority caucuses call for quick action on police reform Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd Black Caucus member unveils bill to create commission addressing legacy of slavery 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 CuomoCuomo says he 'never apologized' to NYPD for saying they 'did not do their job' CDC director warns Floyd protests could be 'seeding event' for coronavirus Former Obama aide goes off on looters: 'There are human beings that live in this goddamn neighborhood' 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.