U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren celebrates college debt forgiveness at Belkin Lookout Farm
NATICK — President Joe Biden’s decision this week to forgive some college debt was a win for millions of borrowers and a win for the nation’s economy, according to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
It was also a win for Warren herself, who had been pushing for debt cancellation for years. She was still on her victory lap Wednesday evening when she stopped by Belkin Family Lookout Farm for a town hall.
Speaking to constituents, she enthusiastically rattled off a string of Democratic victories, from the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act to the imminent arrival of over-the-counter hearing aids.
“This doesn’t come along too often,” she said of the streak of political success.
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Massachusetts ranks high in student debt
But it was student loan debt forgiveness at the forefront of Warren’s mind Wednesday.
Biden’s loan forgiveness cancels up to $20,000 for people who have received low-income Pell Grants, and $10,000 for all other borrowers with incomes less than $125,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a household.
“Massachusetts has a high student loan debt burden,” Warren said of the impact in her home state. “More people here carry student loan debt, and they carry bigger balances.”
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Debt cancellation is a popular policy on both ends of the political spectrum, she told the Daily News in an interview prior to the town hall.
“And the main reason is that there’s nobody left in America who doesn’t know someone who is struggling with student loan debt,” Warren said. “Debt has become a crushing burden for hardworking middle-class people whose only sin was to try to get an education and be born into a family that couldn’t write a check to make that happen.”
Asked if she thought Biden’s policy went far enough, Warren said she would like to see more relief for borrowers down the line.
“I am so happy to see the president take this step; it is historic,” she said. “I pushed for more, and I will keep pushing for more. But he’s focused the most relief on the people who have the greatest need. I support that.”
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According to USA TODAY, some economists have said debt forgiveness could spark inflation and put pressure on the dollar’s value, a concern that the White House — and Warren — has dismissed.
“Right now, student loan debt holds back our economy,” she said.
Forgiving student debt helps economy, Warren says
Warren likened debt cancellation to the G.I. Bill, which sent returning World War II veterans off to college and helped contribute to a booming postwar economy.
“If they (borrowers) aren’t struggling with student loan debt, they can contribute more to this economy, and that benefits all of us, whether we have debt or not,” she said.
She also pushed back on criticism that debt forgiveness effectively penalizes those who have already repaid their loans.
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“It’s important to ask, ‘What is their solution to the student loan debt crisis?’” she said of Republican critics. “Every year that goes by, we have added more than $100 billion to the debt burdens of people trying to get an education, and the Republican answer seems to be that those people are just on their own; it’s too bad, they should have been born rich. That’s not how we build a future.”
Debt forgiveness is just first step
Later that evening, as Warren fielded questions from constituents, Natick Democratic Town Committee Chair Craig Bystrynski reflected on debt forgiveness and asked: “What’s the next step, or is there a next step?”
Warren reiterated that the policy is historic and goes a long way in helping those most in need of relief.
“Having said that, it’s not enough,” she continued, adding that she and her team continue to look for ways to work with the Biden administration and push for higher education reform.
“So I’m celebrating today,” Warren said. “Tomorrow, I’m back to work.”
This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Warren: College debt cancellation is a win for the U.S. economy