Senator Warren Discusses Student Loan Debt Forgiveness and Codification of Federal Reproductive Rights at North Adams City Hall

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Weather Warren’s own calls for student loan debt forgiveness have been for more than double the $20,000 maximum that President Joe Biden’s order called for.says he is seeing the positive side of the situation.

“The first thing I remember when I wake up in the morning is that 20 million Americans who had student loan debt are now completely free and clean, and another 23 million Americans have lower debt loads than before,” Warren said. “Did you want more help? I sure did. And will I keep fighting for it? Of course I’ll do it. But we need to take a moment to celebrate the change this makes in people’s lives. Most people will get $20,000 in aid, and that will have a disproportionate impact on working families, on the people who need it most. About half of all Latinos who owe money on student loans will see their debts completely eliminated. About 45% of all African Americans will see their loans completely eliminated. Aid here will go disproportionately to racial minorities, but it will also go to first-generation college students. It will go to moms and dads who are trying to get back to school and trying to improve opportunities for their families. It will go to the veterans. Those will be the main recipients of this. More than 95% of this aid will go to families earning less than $75,000 a year. I always remember this, these are people who did everything we wanted them to do. They finished high school, entered higher education, some went to technical school, beauty school or air conditioning repair. Others went to college. 40% of them failed to get a college degree but tried to invest in themselves and are now being crushed by student loan debt. And for the 60% who managed to get a college degree, keep in mind that these are mostly people who attended public schools, not fancy private schools. These are people who attended historically black colleges and universities, these are people who have tried, and student loan debt has meant that many of them can’t move out of their mother’s basement, can’t save money to buy a house, they can’t start a small business, they can’t even start a family for many of them. So we’re living in a time where the president of the United States has reached out to literally tens of millions of families and said, “I’m putting the government on his side.” And I love that.”

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Warren was asked for his reaction to critics of the plan framing it as a giveaway.

“I don’t know what kind of bubble they live in, but is there anybody left in America who doesn’t know some of those 43 million people who break their lines every day, have two jobs and three jobs, and watching their loads of debt continue to rise? the senator asked. “We’ve created an America right now where if your parents can pay a check for you to go to school, you’ll be fine. But if you’re born into a family that can’t afford it, you now shoulder a crippling debt load. This is deeply unfair. As I have been in this fight, I always remember that my dad was a janitor and I wanted to be a public school teacher more than anything in the world. I had that opportunity at the University of Houston for $50 a semester. For a price I could pay in a part-time waitressing job, I could graduate from a four-year college debt-free and become a special education teacher. That opportunity does not exist anywhere in America today. Instead, that same girl who is the daughter of a janitor has to go into debt, which makes it virtually impossible for her to stand up and build some security in the future. The president has stepped up and helped those families. We have to do three things: the first is to deal with the debt that has accumulated. The second is to have a way for families to pay in the future, and an important part of the President’s announcement yesterday is not just that we’re going to change the income-driven payment plan, we’re going to say effectively, if you go to school , when you come out the other side, we’ll make sure you never have to go through this debt hell. But the third thing we need to do is reduce the cost of higher education. And that means we have to make more public investments. The reason I was able to go to college for $50 a semester was because good taxpayers invested in our public institutions and that kept tuition low. On top of that, we need to make more federal investments in our schools, and we need to ask our schools to be more transparent about overall costs so students can make good decisions up front about graduation rates, how long it takes to graduate, and how your students are doing on the other side. So, there’s a lot of work that Congress needs to do, because that’s where the tools are that Congress needs to do to keep the cost of higher education down. But we have to hit all three of these. A nation performs better when it invests in the education of its young people, and the president has taken an important step in that direction.”

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Warren responded to a question about how she intends to keep pushing for the White House to condemn more student loans.

“One of the things we all see today is how many people have been helped at the $20,000 level,” she replied. “At the $30,000 level, we can help a few more people. We can find different ways to direct help. So, for example, there are 33,000 Americans who, prior to the pandemic, had their Social Security checks garnished to pay off outstanding student loan debt. We can direct relief to more people who need it, and I will be in that fight until the end.”

Asked if Democrats intended to codify access to reproductive health care at the federal level, Warren said it all hinged on the midterm elections in November.

“As soon as we get two more Democratic senators and hold on to the House, I’ll look at them in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” Warren said. “If we take those two Senate seats and hold on to our other Senate seats, then we can roll back filibuster and Roe vs. Wade will be the law of the land, along with voting rights, better gun safety, universal child care. . We can make a lot of changes that we need to make, but we have to have two more senators.”

Warren was in North Adams to meet with the Hoosic River Revival about long-overdue improvements to dilapidated infrastructure that diverts the waterway through town.