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Durbin reminded fellow Republicans, who criticized the plan, that they had already supported and personally benefited from federal loan forgiveness.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) delivered a speech in the Senate on the onerous cost of higher education, which is quickly becoming one of the biggest concerns for middle-income families and low in America. Durbin began his speech by recalling the creation of the National Defense Education Act, which was enacted to counter the Soviet Union’s space exploration and its growing technology industry. As a result of the legislation, students were offered loans to attend university.

“The National Defense Education Act said those applying for federal college loans could borrow money and pay it back at three percent interest, but didn’t have to pay it back until a year after college, then they had ten years to pay it back . I didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out to be my ticket to college…I ended up borrowing enough to finish college and law school. The amount of debt if I said he would make everyone laugh because he was so small”, Durbin started.

Durbin went on to cite additional restrictions that burden students with lifelong debt. In his remarks, Durbin explained that federal law prohibits student borrowers from paying their debt in the event of bankruptcy due to outdated legalities. Under current law, most types of debt — mortgages, credit card debt, boat loans — can be canceled in bankruptcy court, with the exception of student loans, which continue to prevent Americans middle and low income to live in financial security.

“Regarding student loans [in bankruptcy court]we said… we are not going to allow [students] to discharge him in bankruptcy. This ultimately meant that for those who had borrowed money to go to school and college when they were 19 or 20, they would have a debt that they had to pay off or carry in the falls “, Durbin explained.

“Should [student loans] be discharged in the event of bankruptcy? I think under certain circumstances they should be. If ten years have passed and you still had a balance on your student loans and you were literally in debt, you should be able to pay it off in bankruptcy,” Durbin said.

To address this oversight in student loan forgiveness, Durbin introduced the bipartisan NEW BEGINNING through the Bankruptcy Act to restore the ability for distressed borrowers to seek federal student loan bankruptcy discharge after a ten-year waiting period.

Durbin then praised President Biden’s decision to offer up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness to Americans earning less than $125,000 a year and married couples earning less than $250,000. President Biden’s plan also offers up to an additional $10,000 to Pell Grant recipients.

“Under this plan, 43 million Americans will receive some form of debt forgiveness. A majority of them, about 27 million borrowers, will see up to $20,000 forgiven on their student loan balance. For 20 million borrowers, this is enough to completely wipe out their student loan balance. They can start over. They can consider going back to school, maybe even a good school that gives them the kind of training, education and degree that can really lead to a better life,” Durbin said.

Today, two-thirds of university graduates have student loans. The average student graduates with close to $25,000 in student debt. For students attending predatory, for-profit colleges, the student debt burden can be much worse. Lured by the false promises of for-profit college advertisements and recruiters, students often do not graduate from these programs, but are left to pay thousands of dollars in student loans.

Durbin shared the story of Vickie Vences, one of thousands from Illinois who got scammed by for-profit Westwood College. A first-generation student, Vickie enrolled in Westwood’s criminal justice program in Chicago in 2004, believing recruiters’ promises that a Westwood degree would help her land a well-paying job in law enforcement. Vickie, however, was unable to find employment in law enforcement due to Westwood’s lack of accreditation.

“Because Westwood College hid the truth that they weren’t accredited in Illinois, many young people were tricked into thinking it was a ticket to a good job applying for By the time Vickie realized how into it she was, she had $50,000 in student loan debt and she didn’t even have a Westwood degree to report. Durbin shared.

Vickie now works in non-profit organizations that help victims of domestic violence. However, she rarely earns enough to pay off her student loans, which forces her to live in fear of wage garnishment. The Department of Education (department) recently announced that students who attended Westwood are eligible for discharge from the Borrowers Advocacy Group due to widespread misrepresentation and misconduct at Westwood. The entire balance of Vickie’s loan has been forgiven. Without this burden, Vickie may consider going back to college to help her find a job in law enforcement.

The Biden administration’s unique student loan debt relief plan and the Department’s recent decision to provide borrower defense releases to students who have been ripped off by for-profit schools will empower millions of borrowers to see relief. As Durbin points out, however, Republicans are quick to denounce President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan under the misguided argument that this debt forgiveness is a gift to graduates of elite schools.

“President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is no gift to wealthy doctors and lawyers who have racked up big debts at Ivy League schools. Ninety-eight percent of student borrowers did not attend these schools. The majority of these debts are held by families with zero net worth. How will their lives be without help? Nearly ninety percent of the president’s plan relief dollars go to borrowers earning less than $75,000 a year,” Durbin asserted.

Durbin reminded fellow Republicans that several of them had accepted government loan repayments through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). When the federal government offered this aid, Republicans remained silent on federal aid.

Durbin concluded, “We started talking about trillion-dollar relief programs during the pandemic. We told people we were going to make loans through the Small Business Administration to people who have a job or a business and need a hand borrowing money to get by . If you can prove you spent the money on payroll, utilities and rent, it’s forgiven… We’ve had a number of congressmen applying for PPP loans, the same people literally criticizing cancellation of student loan debt, personally borrowed money that they did not repay to the federal government. They thought there was nothing wrong with that. remarked Durbin.

“The bottom line is this. If we can help these young student borrowers have the opportunity to reduce the debt they owe and get their lives back in line, that’s a great outcome for them and a great outcome for this nation…Joe Biden’s move is a reasonable and human step in the right direction. He should have bipartisan support,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV channels.


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