Bernie Sanders to Propose Canceling All $1.6 Trillion of Student Debt

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the Democratic presidential candidates NALEO Candidate Forum on June 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
Joe Skipper/Getty

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday will propose legislation canceling all $1.6 trillion worth of U.S. student debt, according to a report.

The 2020 White House contender will unveil the bill alongside Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), per the Washington Post. The plan goes further than a signature proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as the two jockey for support from the party’s progressive base in the Democrat presidential primary.

Sanders’ effort on student loans, entitled the College For All Act, would cancel $1.6 trillion of debt, claiming to save the average borrower roughly $3,000 a year. It is estimated to cost a staggering $2 trillion and be paid for by a series of “Wall Street” taxes on such things as stock trades, bonds, and derivatives, according to the proposal.

Warren’s plan, which she has suggested in a Medium post, will be introduced as legislation, would be paid for by imposing a 2 percent fee on fortunes greater than $50 million, a wealth tax designed to target the nation’s top 0.1 percent of households. Warren projects the levy would raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years, enough to pay for a universal child-care plan, free tuition at public colleges and universities, and student loan debt forgiveness for an estimated 42 million Americans — with revenue left over.

By forgiving all student debts, Sanders said the proposal addresses an economic burden for 45 million Americans. The key difference is that Warren’s plan considers the income of the borrowers, negating $50,000 in debt for those earning less than $100,000 per year and affecting an estimated 42 million people in the U.S.

“This is truly a revolutionary proposal,” Sanders said in a statement to the Post. “In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of getting a college education.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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