Sanders, liberals, out with bill to cancel student debt

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the crowd during the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Days before the first Democratic presidential debates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and House progressives rolled out legislation to cancel all student debt, going farther than a signature proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the two jockey for support from the party’s liberal base .

By canceling all student loans, Sanders says the proposal would address an economic burden for 45 million Americans. The key difference is that Warren’s plan considers the income of the borrowers, canceling $50,000 in debt for those earning less than $100,000 per year and affecting an estimated 42 million people in the U.S.

Questions face both candidates about how to pay for all of that plus their proposals for free tuition at public colleges and universities. But the battling ideas highlight the rivalry between senators who have made fighting economic inequality the cornerstones of their 2020 presidential campaigns.

Sanders vowed at a Monday news conference that his plan “completely eliminates student debt in this country and the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation, the millennial generation, to a lifetime of debt for the crime of doing the right thing. And that is going out and getting a higher education.” He appeared alongside the proposal’s House sponsors, Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten also in attendance.

His bill and Warren’s plan are part of their broader appeal to liberal voters on issues such as health care, technology and education.

That appeal is likely to be fleshed out this week during the first Democratic debates . Twenty candidates are set for the showdown, with Warren part of the lineup on Wednesday and Sanders appearing a day later. The events come as Warren appears to be cutting into Sanders’ support from the left.

Sanders’ effort at one-upmanship on student loans, named the College For All Act, would cancel $1.6 trillion of debt and save the average borrower about $3,000 a year, according to materials obtained by The Associated Press. The result would be a stimulus that allows millennials in particular to invest in homes and cars that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. It would cost $2.2 billion and be paid for — and then some — by a series of taxes on such things as stock trades, bonds and derivatives, according to the proposal.

The universal debt relief is designed partly around the idea that it would mostly benefit Americans who can’t afford college tuition without loans, according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the legislation wasn’t yet public.

Warren’s plan, which she plans to introduce as legislation alongside Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., would be paid for by imposing a 2% fee on fortunes greater than $50 million. Warren projects the levy would raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years, enough to pay for a universal child-care plan, free tuition at public colleges and universities, and student loan debt forgiveness for an estimated 42 million Americans — with revenue left over. Critics say top earners would find ways around such penalties.

One key difference between Sanders’ and Warren’s plans is their differing treatment of high earners: Warren wrote that her plan would offer “no debt cancellation to people with household income above $250,000” while Sanders would extend the benefit even to wealthy borrowers.

Asked on Monday about that decision, Sanders told reporters that he believes in “universality” and added: “In other areas we are going to demand that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share in taxes.”

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  • BS

    Hey, I want a bigger house – and I want YOU to pay for it.
    That’s the next step in the leftist loonie’s playbook.
    A vote for a democrat is a vote for insanity.

    • Rj

      The midterms in 2018 were fraudulent in Michigan and now with the same day registration to vote, Automatically registration to vote along with groups of who knows who gonna set voting districts in Michigan it won’t be long before the worthless governor and Secretary of State try to pass illegals getting drivers licenses just like 13 other states

    • Dimitry

      The problem is, the wealthy will never have to worry about having a place to live or having food to eat. One side wants to help those less fortunate, the other does not, I know what side I choose. Jesus would be a liberal if he were around today and would be horrified by the GOP.

      • We the people

        DIMITRY, the GOP wants people to earn what they get with a good paying job not have the government give it to them and be enslaved to the government to repay what they gave them. That is what you call communism.

        • Rj

          It’s amazing that people who claim to know what Jesus would be if he were on earth. Dimitry! If you can’t see the truth you should pray for guidance in seeking the truth. The government gets it’s money from us, not the rich people who for the most part hide as much of it as they can, now Bernie being a multi millionaire will never go after closing loopholes that allow these rich people to hide their money because he does the same thing. He wants you and I and the rest of us to flip the bill just like the 250 billion a year we are spending on illegals.

  • Rj

    A communist is always eager to confiscate others money. Why don’t these communist go back to the days when we the taxpayers didn’t have to front the money for student loans ? How about these progressive (lazy communist) production facilities be forced to use up the multi billion dollar accounts filled with tax dollars. Then go back to the day when students paid very little to seek a higher education. This is the next bubble to burst with colleges sticking it to the American taxpayers

  • steve

    Why in hell anybody of normal intelligence would vote for Bernie Sanders, or any of the other Democrat ‘candidates’ escapes me. The word ‘free’ appeals to a lot of freeloaders that have been the result of liberal handouts from Democrats, and free college tuition for today’s largely unprepared high school graduates who are abysmally stupid to begin with is one such handout. Such a program is a blatant attempt to buy votes, but the recipients of the handout couldn’t care less. ‘Free is for me’.

      • C

        I’m going to guess that the last two sentences in the previous comment comment describe you very well. Taking from those have and giving it to those who are very often too lazy to earn it for themselves. That’s today’s Democrat way.

  • DaMailman

    The fact that Bernie is actually a viable political candidate in this country speaks volumes about the economic illiteracy of a significant proportion of the population.

  • Joel

    So now they want to tax my retirement accounts (stock trades, bonds and derivatives. Which is what 401k and Ira’s are mad up of) so people can buy houses and cars they can’t afford???? Sounds alot like what caused the housing bubble and subsequent recession in 2008!

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