Democratic Senators tout changes to student loan relief while pushing Biden to forgive $50,000 in debt

warren schumer
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer looks on during a news conference at the US Capitol on July 22, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • Democratic Senators touted new student loan relief to push Biden to cancel $50,000 worth of debt.
  • Sens. Warren and Menendez added an amendment in the stimulus to ease loan forgiveness.
  • The amendment, now law, ensures student debt that’s forgiven isn’t taxable.
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After additional student loan relief measures were announced on Monday, Democratic senators touted the change and further pushed for President Joe Biden to cancel $50,000 of student loan debt.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona canceled student debt for 41,000 borrowers with disabilities and removed the requirement to submit income documentation for over 230,000 borrowers.

“So we have very good news for so many people who have student debt, the load of student debt on their shoulders…We’ve made another good step forward on our progress,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a press conference on Monday.

Schumer, speaking alongside Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bob Menendez, explained that the two senators authored an amendment to Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill that made it so borrowers who had their loans forgiven wouldn’t have to pay taxes on them.

“Once student debt is forgiven, no matter how much, no taxes,” Schumer explained.

Menendez said it’s a “big deal” because as they push for Biden to forgive student loans, those who have their debt forgiven would not have to worry about getting a tax bill from the Internal Revenue Service afterward.

The tax rate before the bill was introduced was $2,200 for every $10,000.

Warren hailed the move as progress but called on Biden to cancel the $50,000 debt for millions of borrowers.

“This is about moving forward, this is our moment of momentum. We have gotten one more piece in place and now we’re just ready for President Biden to sign the piece of paper to say ‘cancel $50,000 worth of student loan debt,'” Warren said, adding that the cancellation would help reduce racial wealth gaps in the country.

Biden has previously rejected calls to wipe out $50,000 but said he supports forgiving $10,000.

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Republicans take aim at billions set aside in stimulus bill for infrastructure and transport projects, including Amtrak, BART, and a bridge to Canada

AP President Joe Biden Amtrak Train Boarding
President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, board an Amtrak train during the 2020 presidential campaign.

  • The $1.9 trillion stimulus plan passed by the House included funding for Amtrak and BART.
  •  About $1.5 billion would go to the Amtrak train system, Biden’s favored mode of transport. 
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy and other Republican lawmakers said some of the infrastructure spending was pork.
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Billions from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed by House lawmakers on Friday would go to transportation and infrastructure projects, including extending a subway in Silicon Valley, operating a bridge to Canada, and maintaining the nation’s railway system. 

In total, more than $40 billion would go to infrastructure and transportation projects, including about $30 billion to public transit, and about $8 billion to airports. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and other Republican lawmakers said some of that infrastructure spending was pork, calling attention to projects in the bill in areas represented by high-profile Democrats. 

“This bill is actually too costly, too corrupt, and too liberal,” McCarthy told Fox News

The 591-page bill passed by the House on Friday included $1.5 million for operations and maintenance for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada. In a statement, Rep. Daniel Webster, of Florida, said the bridge funding was a “pet project” of Senator Chuck Schumer, majority leader, who represents New York. 

Politifact, the fact-checking group at The Poynter Institute, said the Seaway funding had originally been requested by President Donald Trump’s administration in May 2020. 

Also in the House bill was more than $100 million for an extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system in San Jose. The money would go toward connecting the BART subway line to Mineta San Jose International Airport, a “long-planned” route extension, according to The San Francisco Chronicle


Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, called the plan “Pelosi’s Subway,” although the construction would happen just south of Pelosi’s district, as The San Jose Mercury News reported.  

The bill also had more than $1.5 billion for Amtrak, President Joe Biden’s favorite mode of transportation. That funding included about $820 million for the Northeast Corridor, about $680 million for the national rail network, and about $166 million for long-distance service restoration and employee recalls, according to the text of the bill. 

Rep. Ben Cline added the Amtrak spending to his list of “the most egregious provisions unrelated to COVID” in the stimulus bill. 

In a statement, Cline said: “Not only is this legislation riddled with wasteful spending unrelated to COVID and bailouts for blue states like New York and California, but with more than $1 trillion in previously authorized coronavirus funds still unspent, it is premature.” 

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