WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Many Democrats are calling for action on student debt, with some looking to President Joe Biden for help and others introducing legislation themselves.
A group of 80 progressive lawmakers sent a letter Wednesday to Biden, asking him to cancel up to $50,000 of student debt per borrower. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is part of that push.
“Young people, 2 years, 5 years, even 10 years out of college, who are so oppressed, if you will, with 30, 50, 100 or more thousand dollars in debt,” Brown said.
Biden did pause student loan repayment during the pandemic, but so far hasn’t fulfilled his campaign promise to cancel up to $10,000 in debt per student.
“We’re still looking at administrative options, but Congress can also send the president a bill that would provide $10,000 in debt relief, and he’d be happy to sign that bill,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. Meanwhile, many lawmakers aren’t holding their breath.
Several of them are introducing bills to tackle problems related to student loans in other ways.
Congresswoman Deborah Ross (D-N.C.) and other lawmakers introduced a bill that would broaden relief for borrowers who’ve defaulted or made late payments on their student loans, making it easier to remove that from their credit history.
“We’ve got to make it easier to pay off student loan debt, and when you pay it off, we’ve got to make sure you’ve got a clean slate,” Ross said. “Once you pay it off, you should have a clean score and be able to raise your family in a home, be able to buy a car, be able to start a business.”
She’s also advocating for solutions such as increasing Pell Grants to make tuition more affordable.
“We have got to make it much more affordable for people to get education, so that they don’t have the debt in the first place,” Ross said.
Currently, more than 36 million Americans have student loans through the federal government. According to the Education Department, about a third of borrowers are in default or delinquency.