Warren vows to cancel college debt without awaiting Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) - Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she'd order her secretary of education to cancel up to $50,000 in college debt for about 95% of student borrowers on her first day in office, effectively erasing outstanding loans for about 42 million Americans.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts vowed in a proposal released Tuesday to act immediately and not wait for Congress because the secretary of education already has broad authority to compromise on and modify student loans.

Warren had already promised in previous plans to wipe out student loans for 42 million Americans while offering free tuition at public universities. She's proposed a wealth tax on fortunes worth $50 million or more to pay for doing so, saying that will raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years.

But those proposals would require congressional approval. Hours before a presidential debate in Iowa, which holds its lead-off caucuses on Feb. 3, Warren said she'd move unilaterally to cancel debt first, then work with Capitol Hill to ensure programs to pay for it become law.

"We're facing a student debt crisis, and every day counts for families struggling with this burden and for our economy as a whole," Warren wrote in an online post unveiling her plan.

The senator also wants to reduce backlogs so that qualifying borrowers are able to cancel loans through debt forgiveness plans that are already available. She said that could help an additional nearly 1.75 million borrowers.

And Warren promised that on her first day in office, she'd empower the secretary of education to limit the for-profit college industry and crack down on "predatory" student lending. Noting that black students default on college loans at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts, the senator said she'd order the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights to investigate the core causes of and help rectify racial disparities in student borrowing.

In announcing Tuesday's plan, Warren's campaign released a letter from three experts at the Legal Services Center at Harvard Law School, where Warren was a professor. They examined the authority granted by statute to the secretary of education and found what Warren was proposing to be "a lawful and permissible use of the authority Congress has conferred" on the department.


Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, "Ground Game."


More Related News

Sanders' exit could bring Obama into the 2020 fold

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is out, and former President Barack Obama is maybe, possibly in.Sanders dropped out of the 2020 race on Wednesday, saying his "path toward victory is virtually impossible" but pledging to stay on primary ballots through the Democratic National Convention to gain influence in the party. That makes former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee, and leaves Obama free to campaign for his former second in command.Obama has refused to endorse a primary candidate since the 2020 Democratic race's jam-packed beginnings, though reports did suggest he was quietly backing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Other reports suggested he wasn't...

Trump weighs more stimulus checks for Americans. What else could be in next coronavirus aid package?
Trump weighs more stimulus checks for Americans. What else could be in next coronavirus aid package?

Donald Trump and congressional leaders have begun talks on another coronavirus recovery package that could include more stimulus checks for Americans.

McConnell sets Senate showdown on virus aid payroll rescue
McConnell sets Senate showdown on virus aid payroll rescue

In a rare move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he will attempt to swiftly pass additional funds for small businesses to keep making payroll as Congress rushes to provide more aid during the coronavirus crisis. The so-called Paycheck Protection Program "may run dry" without it,

Obama suggests lawmakers follow Elizabeth Warren
Obama suggests lawmakers follow Elizabeth Warren's coronavirus recovery plans

Former President Barack Obama is handing out an endorsement of sorts.Even though she ended her presidential campaign a month ago, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has continued to crank out plans for how she'd like the government to be run. They've continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and, on Monday, got a stamp of approval from Obama.Linking to Warren's appearance on the Vox podcast The Ezra Klein Show, Obama described Warren as providing a "cogent summary of how federal policymakers should be thinking about the pandemic in the coming months." In the discussion, Warren outlined plans for protecting health care workers and stemming disease spread, federal deficit spending...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Economy