Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today delivered remarks urging President Biden to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
For over a year, one of my top priorities as Majority Leader has been urging President Biden to cancel $50,000 in student debt for each student loan borrower. Right now, as discussions continue within the Administration about the future of student debt, I again call on the President to take action, which he can do on his own, and hit the financial reset button for millions and millions of Americans.
President Biden has done the right thing by continuing the moratorium on student loan payments. His actions have saved millions from financial ruin during the COVID crisis.
But borrowers don’t just need their debts paused, they need them erased. These extensions have been crucial but borrowers can’t indefinitely plan out their financial futures three months at a time, with the fear hanging over them that payments will resume down the line.
With the flick of a pen, President Biden could provide millions upon millions of student loan borrowers a new lease on life. And he can do it without Congressional action, because we know so many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are opposed to it. He can do it without Congressional action.
It’s the right thing to do for our country. For generations, higher education has been a ladder up for getting into the middle class — especially for Black, Latino, Asian Americans. Unfortunately, student debt has become not a ladder up but an anchor weighing Americans down. It makes it harder for borrowers to start a family, to buy a home or a car, live with financial independence.
And for borrowers of color, the anxieties are magnified, often tenfold. Take this for example: The white median borrower, will only owe an average of 6% of their student loans 20 years after starting college. Meanwhile, the median Black borrower, will still owe a staggering 95% of their student debt in that same time span.
Imagine being closer to retirement than to
college and realizing you’ve only made a dent
on in your student loans.
Millions of borrowers of color — millions more of borrowers in general — live
with this reality.
Once again: Borrowers don’t just need their debts paused, they need them erased. This isn’t just the right thing to do for our economy: it’s the right thing to do for racial equity.
And I will keep urging the president to take this important step. And I say to my colleagues, I think the president is moving in our direction. My talks with him and his staff have been very fruitful over the last little while, and I am hopeful that he will do the right thing. We’re getting closer, we’re getting closer.