Senate Dems pitch plan to cover student loan debt


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling on the federal government to cancel student loan payments for millions of Americans.

Unemployment numbers have soared with widespread shutdowns of businesses aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

“Cancel student loan payments during the duration of the coronavirus,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on his colleagues on the Senate floor. “We’ve got to help the students and those with big loans on their backs.”

He has a plan that would make the federal government pick up the tab — up to $10,000 for each borrower.

But so far, that’s not included in a nearly $1 trillion relief package that Congress is working on. The U.S. Department of Education has agreed only to waive interest and fees, providing flexibility to defer payments by up to 60 days. To request a deferral, borrowers should contact their student loan service.

“They can pay on those loans later,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who explained she wants to help students but also wants to be fair. “Certainly there are a lot of people who chose not go to school. … We want to be sure we’re being equitable.”

“Give me a break,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, demanded. “How do they not step in right now?”

She said if the feds bail out large corporations, they should also bail out average Americans.

“Regular families who went to college to do better, we’re not giving them anything? How dare we?” she wondered. “We have $1.6 trillion in student debt. We need to deal with that.”

Schumer said Democrats’ ideas are being ignored by the Republicans who control the Senate and the White House and they have had “virtually no input.”

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel, R-Ky., said he wants the bill finalized and passed as soon as possible.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...

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