(CNSNews.com) – Canceling student loan debt is an economic justice, racial justice, and gender justice issue, because it has a “disparate” impact on “black and brown borrowers” and women, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said Tuesday.
Pressley told MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” that it’s not surprising that student loan debt cancellation is a controversial issue, “because of who the obstruction is coming from – these Republican officials, corporate interests, callous and disconnected from the hardship that everyday people are experiencing, from every walk of life.”
She said that the lawsuits filed against the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation plan are “frivolous” and “partisan,” and that President Biden “clearly has the legal authority, and we just need the Supreme Court to uphold the law.”
Pressley said that “some 40 million plus people stand to benefit from this relief,” and “in the four weeks that the president’s action was live or going into effect, some 26 million people applied.” In the congresswoman’s district, “out of those eligible borrowers, 70% already applied.”
“So Republicans want to play with people’s lives. Democrats are here to change and save people’s lives, and we will do that by ensuring that those that are burdened by this debt feel the relief. We organized for that pause on student loan payments, and we heard from people how impactful that was,” the congresswoman said.
“People were able to use those funds to keep a roof over their head, to pay for child care, and other essential costs. There are people paying monthly payments of the equivalency of a mortgage payment. This is an economic justice issue. It’s a racial justice issue giving the disparate burden on black and brown borrowers,” she said, adding that one in four “black borrowers would have their debt zeroed out completely.”
“This is a gender justice issue. Out of this $2 trillion debt, two-thirds of that debt is on the shoulders of women. Again, this is people from every walk of life,” Pressley said.
“If society is to be judged by how we take care of our babies and our elders, we are failing, because when I have a 76-year-old grandmother crying to me that she’s afraid she’s going to die still paying on this debt, on a fixed income, whose benefits have been garnished because she is still paying on loans at this point more than she took out, and when you have a whole generation whose path we are making harder than our own even was, because they’re choked by this debt, they can’t purchase a home, start a business, grow a family,” she said.
“When I have teachers who took on this debt, because they wanted to be nation builders and educate our babies, and they can’t afford child care for their own babies at a monthly minimum, and some have even contemplated suicide. The point here, Joy, is we can do something about it,” the congresswoman said.
“The president clearly has the legal authority, and I need the Supreme Court to uphold the law, and we will keep organizing and applying pressure until this is done, just like we were negotiating with the White House until 7:00 in the morning, until there was action taken,” she said.
When asked if there’s any hope of getting something through Congress on student debt relief if the administration isn’t able to stop the Supreme Court challenge, Pressley said, “I’m not ceding anything. I can’t stop, and this movement won’t stop. Executive action is the most precise and effective way to bring about this relief to the 40 million plus borrowers who are eligible for it, who are crippled by this, who are burdened by this every single day.
“So executive action is the most effective and efficient and precise way to get this done, and I’m not ceding defeat here. The Supreme Court needs to uphold the law. The president and the secretary of education clearly have the legal authority,” the congresswoman said.
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