Warren bill would wipe out nearly all student debt in US

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday announced a bill that would forgive billions of dollars in outstanding student loans and wipe out almost all student debt held in the U.S.

Warren’s bill would forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with a total household income below $100,000. Debtors with between $100,000 and $250,000 in total household income would have less of their debt eliminated the closer they are to the upper limit on eligibility for forgiveness.

“The student debt crisis is real and it’s crushing millions of people — especially people of color,” Warren said in a statement. “It’s time to decide: Are we going to be a country that only helps the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, or are we going to be a country that invests in its future?”

Warren first proposed her student loan forgiveness plan in April as a pillar of her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.{mosads}

The proposal would apply to 95 percent of student loan holders in the U.S., or roughly 42 million people, according to economists at Brandeis University tapped by Warren to analyze the plan. The economists said roughly 75 percent of student loan holders would have the entirety of their debt wiped out by Warren’s bill, which would cost $640 billion.

Though in her hypothetical White House plan Warren proposed a wealth tax to pay for the debt forgiveness, her Senate offering does not appear to include such a proposal.

The U.S. holds roughly $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, fueled by the rising costs of higher education and growing demand for applicants with a four-year degree in many jobs and industries.

Warren has gained popularity in early primary polling as she aims to sell voters on her ambitious progressive policy agenda. The senator has released more than a dozen detailed proposals since launching her campaign last year, spanning economic, agricultural, health care and foreign policy.

Warren’s student debt forgiveness bill will be introduced in the House by Rep. James Clyburn, the majority whip and senior Democrat from South Carolina, a crucial early primary state.

“For far too many students and families, the cost of higher education has meant daunting debt and a lifetime of student loan repayments,” Clyburn said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with Senator Warren on this legislation that will provide affordable access to education for all Americans and attempts to make amends for the underinvestment made in higher education at the state and federal level for over two decades.”

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