‘Closer than we’ve ever been’: Warren and Pressley talk student loan forgiveness

Just weeks before the end of the pandemic-era student loan hiatus, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley met with labor leaders Wednesday at the Boston Teachers Union to renew their call for loan forgiveness. students.

“I want to take a moment to acknowledge that we are closer than ever to seeing student debt canceled, and it has everything to do with the many people who have been crushed by this and continue to be crushed who have amplified and shared their stories,” Pressley said.

Former President Trump and later President Biden suspended early 2020 student loan payments and interest accrual for much of the pandemic — that pause is set to end August 31.

As the deadline approaches, there has been speculation over whether Biden will extend it or possibly issue an executive order to cancel student loan debt.

Pressley and Warren joined activists in demanding $50,000 in debt forgiveness. Biden said he didn’t want to go that far, indicating his interest in the $10,000 idea.

“In a few days, (the student loan break) will expire, and it will be significant,” Pressley said. “We’ve seen during the pandemic that people have been able to use that money to stay safely housed, for other bills. It’s a matter of consequences for people from all walks of life.

Pressley and Warren pointed out on Wednesday that the analysis showed that this is “an economic problem, a racial problem, a gender problem and a generational problem.” They cited statistics, noting that women carry two-thirds of all student loan debt and that black borrowers are five times more likely to default on college loans.

“If the president canceled $50,000 in student loan debt, we could close the black-white wealth gap by 27 points for people with student loan debt,” Warren said. “There is not another action the president can take on his own that would have such a profound effect on racial equity in this country.”

Both politicians acknowledged the role of the labor movement in advancing the cause, telling advocates “there is reason to be encouraged”.

“When we first started advocating for student debt forgiveness…the false and misguided narrative was that student debt forgiveness would only benefit white graduate students going to college,” Pressley said. “And that’s not true. This nearly $2 trillion crisis is universal.

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