Congress is negotiating about another economic stimulus bill. This one may include something far beyond anything previously done — widespread student loan debt forgiveness.
When it became law in March, the federal CARES Act postponed interest charges and monthly payments on every student loan debt any American owes to the U.S. Education Department (ED) through this coming September 30. But many were disappointed that it didn’t include a plan to forgive $10,000 of what each borrower owes ED, and that it was silent on private student loan debt relief.
Of course, address those issues would be great for 45 million borrowers owing $1.6 trillion in student loan debt — shrinking what they owe, allowing them to eliminate college debt faster, and giving them have more money to spend each month. But helping 45 million consumers have more to spend would also be an economic stimulus benefitting all Americans in these troubled financial times.
So the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, another stimulus bill. This Act would eliminate $10,000 in student loan debts owed to both ED and private lenders.
The HEROES Act would also:
- Expand the postponement of interest charges and required payments to all federal student loans, including those not currently owned by ED; and
- Extend the end date for the postponement of interest charges and required payments on federal student loans to September 30, 2021.
Almost all House Democrats, but just one House Republican, voted for the HEROES Act. But bottled up in the U.S. Senate, just like over 500 other bills the House passed in the last 18 months. Still, Democrats and Republicans keep trying to negotiate a new stimulus bill that both parties could support. To pass the House, this bill may have to include some kind of student loan forgiveness.
And while he hasn’t specifically endorsed student loan forgiveness, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly said he’s for anything that would help the economy recover. McConnell also says the next stimulus bill will be the last stimulus bill considered by this Congress. He’s probably right, since a month-long August recess plus fall campaigns are fast approaching.
Now’s the time to exercise your right to call and email your U.S. Representative (here) and Senators (here) to express your views. You can also sign a MoveOn.org petition (here) that already has a million signatures urging Congress to stimulate the economy by canceling student debt.
Whether you support student loan forgiveness and other HEROES Act provisions to help yourself, to help stimulate our nation’s economy, or both, now is the time for you to act!
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