Thereve been a lot of headlines about student debt cancellation lately, so I thought Id help sort through the noise, give an update on where things stand right now, and talk about what comes next.
Millions and millions of Americans have qualified to have up to $20,000 of student debt canceled. Theyve submitted applications, theyve been approved by the Biden administration, and their debt would already have been canceled except Republican officials are tying up the plan in court.
Lets be clear: The Biden administration has the legal authority to cancel student debt. Period. President Obama has used his power this way. President Trump has used his power this way. President Biden has already used his power this way.
Any judge who makes decisions based on the rule of law will give student debt cancellation their seal of approval. A few Republican-appointed judges have played politics, sided with the GOP, and blocked the plan. But the Supreme Court will take up the case in February, on an accelerated timeline and theres no legitimate reason they shouldnt uphold the law and allow these debts to be canceled.
In the meantime, President Biden has extended the pause on student loan payments into 2023 so no one will have to make payments on debt that should have already been canceled by now.
And I dont want to lose sight of the human consequences of student debt cancellation:
*Half of Latinos with student debt will see their balances drop down to zero.
*Same for 45 percent of Black Americans with student debt.
*Nearly 90 percent of the relief will go to people making less than $75,000 a year.
*About 40 percent of people with student loan debt dont have a four-year college diploma people like barbers, nail technicians, truck drivers, and sheet metal workers. Hardworking Americans who need a government on their side.
Now, talk about a perfect example of the difference between Democrats and Republicans. A Democratic president took historic action to put money in the hands of tens of millions of working-class and middle-class Americans. And Republican elected officials sued to block it, because theyd rather look out for big corporate loan servicers.
But its not just that the GOP wants Washington at the beck and call of corporate interests. Its also that they believe causing economic pain is good politics for them, as long as Democrats are in power and could get blamed for it at the ballot box. Thats why they demanded damaging budget cuts under President Obama. Thats why theyre threatening to crash the global economy by not raising the debt ceiling next year. Theyre playing politics with peoples lives to scramble for some electoral advantage. And its shameful.
In the meantime, while we fight them in court on broad cancellation, there are still new student loan policies coming into place that will make a real difference policies that Ive been fighting for for years:
People whove been cheated by for-profit colleges are getting automatic loan forgiveness.
So are people with permanent disabilities.
Public servants like teachers, nurses, and firefighters have had a new chance to get their debts canceled through a revamped, detangled Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
And the administration just rolled out new rules allowing people to cancel their student debt through the bankruptcy process.
Im going to keep fighting to make sure student debt relief goes through, put higher education within reach for every family, and put our government on the side of working people.
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