Ocasio-Cortez opened her remarks by telling the witnesses and audience that she had made a student loan payment while attending the hearing.
"I literally made a student loan payment while I was sitting here at this chair, and I looked at my balance, and it was $20,237.16," she said. "I just made a payment that took me down to $19,000 so I feel really accomplished right now."
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She called for action on the nation's student debt.
“I’m hearing people on this committee say it’s not our job," Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to congressional Republicans' testimony during the hearing. "This is our job.”
The committee had been discussing ways to address the nation's estimated $1.5 trillion in student debt and featured testimony from consumer advocates and experts.
Comedian Hasan Minhaj, whose Netflix show "Patriot Act" had run an episode about student debt, talked about how student debt had become a "paywall to the middle class."
Ocasio-Cortez is one of many members of Congress with student debt burdens. Roll Call reported in March 2019 that 68 members of Congress had their own student loans or loans for a dependent, with an average debt burden of $37,000. Eight members had more than $100,000 in student debt.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: AOC makes student loan payment during congressional hearing on loans