Bernie Sanders, Like Elizabeth Warren, Proposes 'Revolutionary' Law to Eliminate Student Loan Debt
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday unveiled an ambitious $2.2-trillion proposal that, should it become law, would wipe clean all $1.6 trillion worth of student loan debt in the United States.
The legislation, which would affect about 45 million people across the country, was introduced by the Vermont independent on Monday alongside Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, CNN reports. Sanders’ Senate plan will be joined by bills in the House of Representatives from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
With Congress split between Democratic and Republican control, the plan faces no imminent chance of passing. But it served as a new salvo in the crowded Democratic primary, with the first debates set for later this week.
Sanders’ proposal reportedly includes federal and private student loans and is part of his broader push to make public universities, community colleges and trade schools tuition-free.
The money would come through new Wall Street taxes, including a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades, a 0.1 percent percent fee on bonds and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives. The new proposal expands an earlier bill introduced by Sanders, 77, and Jayapal, 53, which did not call for eliminating student debt, according to the New York Times.
The presidential hopeful expects to raise more than $2 trillion over years thanks to the new taxes, according to the Washington Post.
“During the financial crisis, Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in American history,” Sanders wrote on Twitter Monday. “Now it is Wall Street’s turn to help rebuild the disappearing middle class. #CancelStudentDebt.”
It’s an issue Sanders has long pushed for, as he wanted to make college tuition-free and debt-free during his 2016 presidential campaign.
He addressed his plan on Monday.
“I don’t often use the phrase, but today we are, in fact, offering a revolutionary proposal …. which will allow every person in this country to get all of the education that they need to live out their dreams,” he said, according to the Times.
“This proposal completely eliminates student debt in this country and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation, the millennial generation, to a lifetime of debt for the crime of doing the right thing — and that is going out and getting a higher education,” he said, CNN reports.
Sanders is not the only politician pushing to erase student debt: Two months ago Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another presidential contender and leading progressive, announced a $1.25 trillion plan of her own that would cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for those with a household income of less than $100,000. It would affect some 42 million people, per the Times.
Warren, 70, also called for universal free college at two- and four-year public colleges. She said earlier this month she will introduce her student loan legislation with Rep. James E. Clyburn
While Warren’s. plan is subject to income, Sanders’ plan has no eligibility limitations.
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