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Warren to Hold Hearing Next Week on Student Debt

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What You Need to Know

  • Biden has asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to compile a memo on the president's legal authority to forgive student loan debt.
  • The April 13 hearing will focus on student loan debt and its impact on racial justice, borrowers and the economy.
  • The latest efforts aim to build on the Student Loan Tax Relief Act, which was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan.

As the newly appointed chairwoman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., plans to hold her first hearing on April 13 to assess the student loan debt crisis and its impact on racial justice, borrowers and the economy.

News of Warren’s first hearing comes about a week after White House chief of staff Ron Klain said in an interview with Politico that President Joe Biden has asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to compile a memo on the president’s legal authorities to forgive student loan debt, including canceling up to $50,000 per individual.

“Hopefully we’ll see that [memo] in the next few weeks,” Klain said.

Warren, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey held a press conference Thursday calling on Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using his authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for federal student loan borrowers.

Warren was named chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy on March 2 and as chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth.

“As the chair of two subcommittees tasked with overseeing America’s economy, I’ll continue to push for racial and economic justice and lasting economic security for families,” Warren said in a statement.

“I’ll also use these committees to hold big corporations and their executives accountable and to strengthen our banking, securities, and tax laws — and make sure they are enforced,” she added.

Rescue Plan Details

Warren and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., applauded the passage of their Student Loan Tax Relief Act as part of the American Rescue Plan.

The provision makes any student loan forgiveness tax-free, ensuring borrowers whose debt is fully or partially forgiven are not saddled with thousands of dollars in surprise taxes.

After joining the Senate Finance Committee in early March, Warren introduced the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, legislation that would impose a wealth tax on fortunes over $50 million.

Invited to testify at Warren’s April 13 hearing on student loan debt are Healey and Pressley, who will “speak to their experiences working with borrowers cheated by for-profit colleges and people struggling to pay off their debt,” the senator said in a statement.

Also invited are Jack Remondi, CEO of one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers, Navient, and James Steeley, CEO of loan servicer Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).