NEA blasts Senate for denying student debt relief to millions of Americans

‘Americans deserve a Congress that will help them pursue their dreams — not squash them.’

Washington — The Senate last week narrowly voted to block congressional student debt relief in the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Invoking the CRA also threatens a promise owed to our nation’s public service employees through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

Since 2021, more than 615,000 educators and public service workers have received PSLF, equating to more than $42 billion in loan forgiveness. This CRA would unwind the pause on federal student loan payments and could even reinstate 157,000 loans forgiven through the PSLF program. Loan balances would rise with the addition of accumulated payments and interest, creating further economic hardship for borrowers and families already struggling to make ends meet.

“The Biden administration’s Debt Relief Plan was designed to alleviate the overwhelming financial burden on millions of American students and their families,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “It also was a beacon of hope for students and working families across the country as they grappled with crippling student loan debt. President Biden’s plan represented a long-overdue opportunity to level the playing field and ensure that higher education remains accessible to all, regardless of economic background. But today (June 1), Congress decided to block this much-needed relief. Americans deserve a Congress that will help them pursue their dreams — not squash them. The President should rightly veto the resolution.”

“For decades, our nation has strained under a student debt crisis that holds our economy back and steals the dreams of millions of Americans,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler wrote in a letter to Congress May 23 urging them to vote against the CRA.

“This debt burden causes loan defaults and drives up balances, delays marriages and the start of families, and makes saving for the future impossible. Just as significant as the financial fallout is how crushing student loan debt is to the spirit. Nothing is quite as disheartening as looking at a loan balance month after month that never seems to diminish. For those who are closer than ever to a life free from the albatross of student loan debt, the CRA amounts to a direct attack on their hopes and dreams.”

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