Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Friday nudged President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to cancel student debt — a long-held agenda item for progressives.
“Today would be a great day for President Biden and Vice President Harris to #CancelStudentDebt,” Schumer said in a Friday tweet:
Today would be a great day for President Biden and Vice President Harris to #CancelStudentDebt.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 29, 2021
Former President Trump took executive action and paused student loan payments early last year as the Chinese coronavirus pandemic began to grip the nation. Biden built on that, extending the pause on student loan payments through September.
“At the request of President Biden, the Acting Secretary of Education will extend the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0 percent,” the White House announced on Janaury 20.
“Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families,” the statement added. “They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table.”
USA Today reported:
The move was meant to help borrowers use their money on more pressing costs like groceries or rent. The more ambitious may have started saving, but a pause is not a stop. While Congress tussles over President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package or to convict Trump, borrowers still don’t have answers to their ever accumulating questions.
Among them, how long will the pause last? And does it make sense to pay debts now when the possibility of loan forgiveness is on the table?
Democrats have continued to clamor for student debt forgiveness and free college. Biden has proposed canceling up to $10,000 in debt per person — a pitch that does not go far enough for many progressives within the Democrat caucus. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Biden’s former challenger, has proposed canceling $1.6 trillion in student debt, as Breitbart News reported:
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.
Sanders vowed to make universities “debt-free” and “cancel all student debt” during the Democrat primary debate in Houston, Texas, in 2019.
“What we will also do is not only have universal pre-k, we will make public colleges and universities … debt free,” he promised.
“And what we will also do– because this is an incredible burden on millions and millions of young people who did nothing wrong except try to get the education they need – we are going to cancel all student debt in this country,” he said, adding that they would impose a tax on “Wall Street speculation.”