Durbin, Duckworth Join Schumer, Warren To Introduce Resolution Calling On President To Cancel Student Loan Debt For Federal Borrowers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today to introduce a resolution outlining a bold plan for the President of the United States to use existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel up to $50,000 in Federal student loan debt for Federal student loan borrowers. The resolution outlines how the President should use executive authority to cancel student loan debt and ensure there is no tax liability for Federal student loan borrowers resulting from administrative debt cancellation.

“Providing debt cancelation to millions of federal student loan borrowers would lift a huge financial burden off Americans struggling during these trying times. As the economy continues to idle from the impacts of the pandemic, we must take meaningful and bold actions that save people from financial ruin,” said Durbin.

“Our nation will never fully recover from this pandemic if tens of millions of Americans are even more burdened with student loan debt made worse by the economic hardships they’ve experienced this year,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to join Senator Warren and Leader Schumer in introducing this resolution calling on President Trump to use his existing authority to cancel student loan debt for federal borrowers, which would boost our economy while also helping close the racial wealth gap that has been exacerbated by this pandemic.”

Joining Durbin, Duckworth, Schumer, and Warren on the resolution are Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Due to the financial impact of COVID-19, many student loan borrowers faced the uncertainty of meeting their monthly repayment obligations in addition to paying for their basic necessities. To help provide a financial lifeline, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which provided six months of interest free relief for certain federal student loan borrowers, through September 30, 2020. Those protections were recently extended through the end of the year.  But, it’s not enough as borrowers continue to struggle and nearly eight million Americans have been unable to attain this critical relief.   

Student loan debt has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino Americans. Approximately 90 percent of Black students and 72 percent of Latino students take out loans, compared to 66 percent of their white counterparts. While the student loan crisis has always contributed to inequality in the U.S., the COVID-19 crisis has only exposed and exacerbated these inequities.

In March, Durbin, Schumer, Warren, and their colleagues unveiled a proposal to cancel at least $10,000 in student loan debt during the COVID-19 pandemic.