WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the Department of Education’s announcement of a new proposal to cancel the student debt of borrowers in financial hardship:

“This is another important step from the Biden administration to relieve the burden of student loan debt for those who need it most.

“Contrary to some of the most popular lies about student borrowers, people need this relief to make ends meet. 97 percent of people with federal student loans are low- and middle-income, 40 percent of them never were able to finish their degree, and millions are seniors in retirement. Canceling student loan debt is essential to lowering monthly costs for Americans across the country who are struggling to keep up with rising prices of housing and food.

“This new rule is an attempt to address borrowers who’ve experienced the greatest financial hardship: who were defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges, who are part of households making less than $71,000 per year, who have filed for bankruptcy, or for whom college was so expensive that they weren’t able to finish their degrees. The rule could also correct the imbalance for people whose outstanding debt exceeds what they originally borrowed and people whose professional earnings have failed to live up to the promise of their education. 

“I thank President Biden and Secretary Cardona for their ongoing efforts to chip away at the student debt crisis. We must ensure that today’s proposal results in tangible relief for the millions who are owed it, and Progressives will continue to partner with the administration so it becomes a reality.” 

The new proposed rule is responsive to asks made by Representative Jayapal, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), CPC Deputy Chair Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a January 2024 letter.