Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has said that she would wipe out student loan debt for a vast majority of the nation’s borrowers. On Tuesday, she unveiled a plan to do it starting day one of her presidency.
Warren’s plan posits that existing laws give the Department of Education broad, though currently neglected, power to cancel student loan debt through the Higher Education Act. The plan says Warren would immediately order her secretary of education to take advantage of these rules.
Lawyers at the Project on Predatory Student Lending confirm the legality in a letter released with the plan, writing that through the Higher Education Act, Congress gave the secretary of education power to “create and to cancel or modify debt owed under federal student loan programs.”
“That provision empowers the Secretary to execute the broad debt cancellation plan you have proposed,” the lawyers wrote.
In April, Warren announced her intention to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for 42 million people ― or 95% of borrowers. In July, she introduced a bill to do so. But her latest proposal says that she doesn’t have time to wait for Congress to act and that she will wipe out up to $50,000 in debt for anyone with a household income below $100,000, providing additional relief for households making up to $250,000. She pledged to “amend any regulations or policy positions necessary to get there.”
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