Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced she would implement a plan to eliminate student loan debt that can bypass Congress, and it would be initiated on her first day in office.
In a plan released on Tuesday, Warren said she would call on the secretary of education to “use their authority to begin to compromise and modify federal student loans consistent with my plan to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for 95 percent of student loan borrowers.” That would impact about 42 million Americans.
“Were facing a student loan crisis—one thats holding back our economy and crushing millions of American families,” Warren said in the release. She said she previously introduced a plan to “broadly cancel student loan debt, provide universal tuition, free public two- and four-year college and technical school, ban for-profit colleges from receiving federal aid, and help end racial disparities in college enrollment and resources.”
Citing potential congressional votes to block such a plan, Warren said the United States cannot wait. “The Department of Education already has broad legal authority to cancel student debt,” she wrote in her release.
Her announcement adds urgency to the legislation (pdf) that she introduced last year to cancel the most outstanding student loan debt. At the same time, Warren is looking to make significant headway ahead of the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries next month. In recent weeks, she has slipped in the polls and is now behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). In some polls, including surveys taken in Iowa, she trails former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg as well.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Americans hold more than $1.6 billion in student debt as of Jan. 8. The Institute for College Access & Success