Union Leaders Plea With Biden to Cancel Student Loans After Republicans Introduce Bill To Block the Effort

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock (12996316i)President Joe Biden speaks about gas prices in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, in WashingtonBiden Gas Prices, Washington, United States - 22 Jun 2022.
Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock / Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), along with other Republican Senators, introduced the Student Loan Accountability Act on May 18 to prohibit the Biden Administration from canceling student loan debt. The legislation notes that if the White House moves forward, canceling student loan debt would add up to $1.7 trillion to the national debt and push inflation up even further.

“It makes no sense for the Biden Administration to cancel nearly $2 trillion in student loan debt. This decision would not only be unfair to those who already repaid their loans or decided to pursue alternative education paths, but it would be wildly inflationary at a time of already historic inflation,” Romney said at the time. 

In response, on June 22, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Democrat lawmakers and union leaders shared how canceling student loan debt will “help millions of hardworking Americans, narrow the racial wealth gap among borrowers and provide financial relief for millions of workers around the country.”

Union leaders say that forgiving student debt would provide much-needed economic relief, especially for borrowers of color. The White House has been leaning towards $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower, but union leaders and activists are urging lawmakers to consider $50,000 per borrower of student loan relief.

“For decades, we have struggled with a student loan crisis that holds back our economy and crushes the dreams of millions of Americans. This heavy debt burden causes loan defaults and drives up balances; delays marriages and the start of families; and makes it impossible to save for retirement, college funds, or even emergencies. To confront the student debt crisis, NEA has long advocated for broad student debt cancellation of at least $50,000 that is not means-tested. The Biden Administration should exercise its executive authority to provide much-needed relief for America’s families,” said NEA President Becky Pringle.

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Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, echoed the sentiment saying she’s heard from members unable to purchase homes or start families because of their student debt. She wants her members to have “a fair shot at a good life.”

Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees noted that workers in the AFSCME work as nurses, librarians, corrections officers, etc and took on student debt to add value to the communities they live through their hard work and dedication.

“In many cases, they have taken on student debt so they could get the skills and credentials they need to be better at serving their neighbors. They deserve relief.”

Currently, this bill is unlikely to become law with a 50-50 Senate, a Democratic-controlled House and Biden in office, reports Business Insider. 

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