Sense. Wyden, Merkley ask President Biden to write off $ 50,000 in student loan debt

WASHINGTON, DC – The two US senators from Oregon joined many of their fellow Democrats on Thursday in calling on President Joe Biden to write off up to $ 50,000 in US student debt.

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined other Democrats in reintroduce a resolution calling on the president to use his executive power under the Higher Education Act and write off loan debt – also ensuring that there is no tax liability for federal student loan borrowers resulting from the cancellation of the administrative debt.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our economy, making the burden of student debt even more crushing on the millions of people who support it,” Wyden said. “While President Biden ensured that payments on federal student debt were suspended until the fall, he has the power to step in and automatically write off $ 50,000 in student debt for people in the world. ‘Oregon and the country struggling to make ends meet. This move would not only help strengthen the economy by putting money virtually back in people’s pockets, but it would make a tangible difference in the lives of millions of people by mitigating a substantial threat to their financial security.

Senators cited data that found more than 43 million people in the United States currently carry about $ 1.6 trillion in student loan debt. They argue that canceling some of that debt would bring “immediate relief” to millions of Americans during the pandemic and help narrow the racial wealth gap.

“Affordable, high quality education should be available to all Americans who want it,” Merkley said. “It is ridiculous that so many students have to go into debt to go to school, especially as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on our economy. It’s time to write off student loan debts so we can free Americans burdened with student debt to pursue their dreams, contribute to their communities, and help us pave the way for economic recovery. “

The ability to alleviate student loan debt was granted to the Secretary of Education by Congress in 1965, lawmakers said, although past use of this power has been much more restricted. This power is currently being used to freeze student loan repayments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution presented on Thursday calls on President Biden to write off up to $ 50,000 in debt through the Education Department, avoid any resulting tax liability and continue the pause on loan repayments and interest during the remainder of the pandemic.

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