Ilhan Omar renews calls to cancel student debt... because COVID cases are rising

Ilhan Omar renews calls to cancel student debt... because COVID cases are rising
AP Photo/Morry Gash, File
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Leftist Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar is not one to let up from her call to cancel student debt, and her latest angle has been to use spiking COVID cases as a reason to demand progressive change. Omar also called on the Biden administration to extend the eviction moratorium, which prevents homeowners from evicting tenants who refuse to pay rent. 

On Wednesday, the so-called “Squad” member renewed her call for President Joe Biden to lift student debt, pointing to rising COVID cases as justification for her proposals. 

“Just as cases are rising again, the eviction moratorium is ending,” she wrote. “The student loan payment moratorium is ending. Cancel student debt, invest in affordable housing. This crisis is preventable.”

Omar’s tweet comes a day after Democrat lawmakers held a press conference calling on the president to extend the suspension on federal student loan repayments, a policy that was put in place along with last year’s lockdowns and social distancing policies implemented during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Upon his inauguration, Biden prolonged the student loan relief program, pausing payments, interest growth and collections through Sept. 30 of 2021, Fox News reported. Some Democrats are calling on the administration to extend the policy until next March, arguing that the burden on borrowers will stunt economic recovery. Others, like Omar, want those debts to be forgiven altogether.

Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants the Biden administration to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per person, well above Biden’s support for canceling only up to $10,000 in student loan debt per person. Biden has, however, called on Congress to create legislation to that effect, instead of agreeing to do it through an executive order. 

"It’s proven to be one of the most effective steps the government has taken to help Americans get through the health and economic crisis created by COVID-19," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday, stating that student loan borrowers will pay an average of $400 a month once the relief program ends.

"You’re getting back on your feet from COVID, you may have had a loss of income, you may have missed some rent payments, you may have had to put off other things," he said. "In the short term, it’s going to mean more people will struggle to recover from the pandemic."

According to Fox News, progressive Democrat Rep. Ayanna Pressley, another member of the “Squad,” said that “Black and Brown borrowers” were inordinately impacted by student debt and alleged that higher rates of student loan debt in those communities is “intentional policy violence.”

"Extending this critical payment pause will provide a crucial additional layer of protection for the millions of borrowers – disproportionately women and people of color – who currently face a disastrous financial cliff," Pressley said.

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