U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Senate Democrats are proposing that the federal government cancel student loan payments throughout the coronavirus outbreak and forgive at least $10,000 of the debt for each borrower.
The plan unveiled on Thursday by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., among other Democrats, goes much further than the Trump administration’s approach of waiving interest on federal student loans during the national emergency.
“Families and student loan borrowers desperately need our help right now and we’re only just at the beginning of the devastating economic impact of this crisis,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., in a statement.
In addition to the suspension of student loan payments and $10,000 in student debt forgiveness, the proposal calls for halting the garnishment of wages, tax refunds and Social Security benefits for past-due borrowers.
Consumer advocates were quick to applaud the proposal.
“The bold measures proposed by Senators Schumer, Murray, Brown and Warren are necessary to shield borrowers from the government’s draconian collection powers and to ensure that Americans devastated by the financial crisis are able to dig out in the months ahead,” said Persis Yu, the director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center.
Plans to forgive student debt have been gaining traction on the left.
As a candidate for president, Warren proposed cancelling up to $50,000 per borrower, and candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has called for wiping out all $1.7 trillion of the country’s outstanding education debt.