The Second Stimulus Should Go Beyond $1,200 Checks and Address the Student Debt Crisis

The Second Stimulus Should Go Beyond $1,200 Checks and Address the Student Debt Crisis

An early proposal for a student debt relief plan called for cancelling $30,000 dollars worth of debt. The current version of the student debt relief plan calls for cancelling $10,000, but only for those in dire financial trouble. $30,000 to $10,000 is a healthy drop, and it’s widely understood that this version of the proposal won’t pass

It’s very likely that the House proposed HEROES Act won’t pass through the Senate in its current form. The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox News and called the act a “liberal wish list….it mentions the word cannabis of all things 68 times more than the word jobs or hire are mentioned in the entire bill.” The Trump administration similarly released a statement opposing the HEROES Act, and Trump has called the act ‘Dead on Arrival’.

It’s not uncommon for a party to tack on amendments in favor of their political agenda as an act passes through the branches of government. But, as McConnell puts it; “... it still reads like the Speaker of the House pasted together random ideas from her most liberal members and slapped the word ‘coronavirus’ on top of it.” 

The act wasn’t expected to land favorably with the current administration. “The HEROES Act was never going to go to President Trump’s desk in anything close to the same form as it left the House. These starting bids are always vision documents” writes Nick Martin in an article explaining the dim future of student debt relief. 

Rather than creating a guided and focused relief bill, the House has put forward a piece of partisan legislation that is unlikely to make efficient progress through the Republican-majority Senate. Many people face unemployment and financial crises. This is not a time for partisanship.

As Martin explains, “This harsh, inequitable reality is compounded by the fact that, parallel to the widespread higher education disinvestment, the economy that students are expected to seek employment in—so that they can slowly pay off said loans—has now been subject to two of the most drastic downturns in American financial history: first the Great Recession and now the global coronavirus pandemic.” 

Failing to provide financial relief in a time of crisis will only worsen the student debt crisis in the long run, and when bright young minds opt out of an education for fear of severe financial burden, the whole country suffers economically.

By Christopher Rim

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