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Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley

Source: JIM WATSON/Tom Williams / Getty

Two popular Democratic congresswomen are forging a path to forgive student loan debt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past two weeks as the virus continues to spread across the United States, lawmakers in Washington proposed several bills to alleviate the financial burden on citizens affected by the economic impact.

On Monday Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) introduced The Student Debt Emergency Relief Act, which proposes the cancellation of $30,000 of student debt per individual. The bill also prevents borrowers from any involuntary payments and wage garnishment during this unprecedented public health crisis. Provisions would provide immediate monthly payment relief for federal student loan borrowers by requiring the Department of Education to assume payments.

“Student debt was a crisis before the coronavirus. And it’s an even deeper crisis now,” Omar said in a statement. “There are over 750,000 student loan borrowers in Minnesota—and they owe a whopping $34,932 on average. We must not force Americans to choose between putting food on the table and paying off exorbitant student loans. Minnesotans and people across the country need relief and they need it now.”

“During this unprecedented crisis, no one should have to choose between paying their student loan payment, putting food on the table or keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy,” Pressley said. “Our $1.6 trillion student debt crisis stands in the way of any meaningful economic recovery effort during and after this pandemic, which is why we must cancel student loan debt in order to jumpstart the economy.”

Senate Democrats have also proposed a debt elimination plan, capping the amount at $10,000 which would also authorize the Department of Education to make payments on the borrowers behalf. Trump announced the Department of Education would waive interest collection on federal student loans, allowing borrowers to apply for a forbearance period of 60 days.

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