'The Squad' members call to erase $30k student loan debt per person as part of coronavirus aid bill

Pressley points to people “who were preyed upon by the predatory for-profit college industry,” as a reason the bill is needed.

As Democratic lawmakers continue to push student debt forgiveness as a solution to coronavirus, Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have introduced their own proposal.

Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) announced Monday yet another proposal to frame student loan debt forgiveness as a coronavirus related issue. 

The Student Debt Emergency Relief Act would eliminate “at least” $30,000 in student loan debt for all federal student loan borrowers with outstanding debt. Additional relief would come in the form of the Department of Education making borrowers’ loan payments for them for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

“During this unprecedented crisis, no one should have to choose between paying their student loan payment, putting food on the table or keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy,” said Pressley, who says that her bill is meant to “provide immediate relief for workers and families crushed by the financial and emotional burden of massive student debt.”

”We must prioritize debt cancellation for the 45 million student loan borrowers who are struggling to pay off their debt during this difficult time,” Pressley added.

[RELATED:  Coronavirus relief bill stalls after Dems insist on adding student loan forgiveness]

Omar acknowledged that Democrats have been concerned about student debt “before the coronavirus,” but asserted that it is “an even deeper crisis now.”

“There are over 750,000 student loan borrowers in Minnesota—and they owe a whopping $34,932 on average,” said Omar while promoting the bill that would eliminate almost all of that figure for each borrower. Pressley and Omar’s proposal would also block all collections or wage and tax return garnishments against federal student loan borrowers for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

”Millions of borrowers—predominately low-income people, seniors, people of color and those who were preyed upon by the predatory for-profit college industry—are facing financial ruin after falling behind on their student loans,” a press release from Pressley’s office reads. 

[RELATED: Dems push for student loan forgiveness in coronavirus package]

This proposal comes as Democratic senators attempted to force a $10,000 student loan debt payoff into the coronavirus relief package, stalled on Monday. The proposed addition of student loan debt forgiveness as part of the larger relief package was championed by Pressley as well as fellow Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren, joined by Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.)

Joe Biden endorsed the proposal, tweeting that the government “should forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans, as proposed by Senator Warren and colleagues.” 

“Young people and other student debt holders bore the brunt of the last crisis. It shouldn’t happen again,” Biden added.

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