Senate

Warren: Canceling $50K in student debt could ‘transform an entire generation’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is reigniting her push for canceling $50,000 in student debt per borrower, arguing the move could “transform an entire generation.”

“It would help nearly everyone who tried to go to college and it didn’t work out – the 40% of student loan borrowers who do not have a college diploma and are truly struggling hard with student loan debt and would help a huge number of public school teachers and firefighters and people who want a chance to get out there and start their own businesses,” Warren told MassLive in a recent interview.

“It’s the right number, it’s where a lot of people intersect that we could transform an entire generation,” she added.

The renewed push comes as Democratic lawmakers prepare for Oct. 1, when federal student loans payments and interest are slated to resume. The Trump administration enacted a pause amid the pandemic, which President Biden extended through an executive order he signed on his first day in office.

Warren, along with a group of Democratic lawmakers, reintroduced a measure in February that called on Biden to forgive up to $50,000 in federally held student debt per borrower.

She doubled down on that call days later, writing in a joint statement with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), “It’s time to act. We will keep fighting.”

Biden, who said in February he is “prepared to write off” $10,000 in debt, has balked at the $50,000 figure, saying he does not believe such a move could be done with presidential action.

The White House that month said the Office of Legal Counsel was reviewing if Biden could unilaterally cancel federal student loan debt.

Warren said if the White House cancels $50,000 of student debt per borrower and extends the pause on payments and interest until at least March 21, 2022, student loan debt for 85 percent of Americans would be eliminated.

“If they do both of those things, that will completely eliminate student loan debt for 85 percent of the people who currently carry it,” Warren told MassLive. “And for the 15 percent of people who remain, it gives the Department of Education a chance to get them into the right repayment programs.”

Tags Charles Schumer Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden

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