Politics Schumer, pressing Biden on student loan debt, focuses on veterans
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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pressed President Biden on Friday to use executive action to wipe out up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower, centering veterans and service members in his latest push.
Flanked by a group of local veterans at Hunter College on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Senate majority leader said that too many college graduates — including combat veterans who risked their lives overseas — are shackled with crushing debt that plays an outsize role in their life decisions.
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"It's crystal clear that the system itself is not working for the poor, the working poor and we have to do something about that," Turner said.From championing universal health care and affordable housing to tackling student loan debt and institutional racism, Turner articulated a vision of a Democratic Party long desired by younger and more progressive voters who were drawn to the political message of Sanders.
“That debt is just up to people’s neck,” Schumer said. “So we are here to ask the President, with a flick of a pen, to eliminate $50,000 of student debt for every student who has it.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) greets a group of military veterans at Hunter College before speaking at a press conference about a plan to relieve $50,000 in debt for federal student loan borrowers. (Barry Williams/)
Before Biden was elected, Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) outlined a plan for executive action to cancel gobs of student debt, garnering backing from a small army of Democratic lawmakers.
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Biden has moved cautiously on the issue, frustrating progressives. He called for scrapping $10,000 per person on the campaign trail and has asked the Education Department to review whether it’s legal for him to bypass Congress on the issue.
In December, Schumer and Warren jointly published an op-ed saying that the White House has the power to forgive $50,000 per borrower in federal student loans.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks at a press conference about a plan to relieve $50,000 in debt for federal student loan borrowers. (Barry Williams/)
“We have proved conclusively to ourselves that it’s OK, that they can do it,” Schumer said Friday. “They want to be careful, that’s fine, let them keep studying it — but not for too long.”
Schumer said he believed debt cancellation could be accomplished in Congress, but the route would be significantly harder than the executive action path through the White House.
Critics have fretted that loan forgiveness would benefit the well-off more than the working poor, and Republican lawmakers have hardly warmed to idea. But for veterans and other graduates squeezed by monthly debt payments amid the pandemic, Schumer promised, the plan would reduce an onerous burden.
Almost 2.4 Million New Yorkers carry a total of nearly $90,000 billion in federal student loan debt, according to Schumer’s office. The senator urged New Yorkers to write to the White House asking Biden to take a swing at the debt.
“It will do so much good for America,” Schumer said. “We don’t need legislation.”
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The Biden administration has to prove that America’s return to climate summitry is more than mere pageantry. Doing so will require dedicating meaningful financial and diplomatic resources towards innovative and ambitious new initiatives, rather than vague promises that can be broken by subsequent administrations.What we don't need is a Global Jobs Target. We need a Global Jobs Plan.A Global Jobs Plan should create and empower - where possible, "minilateral" groups that are focused on solving specific decarbonization challenges.