Kamala Harris Pushes For Debt Forgiveness For Student Loans. Top Obama Economist Pushes Back.

Vice President Kamala Harris said during an interview that aired on Sunday that Democrats need to fight for student debt forgiveness which comes as a former top economist in the Obama administration said that the idea was “highly regressive.”

“Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it’s delusional for Democrats to think they’re going to win control in 2022 if they don’t do something about the filibuster and student debt,” CBS News host Margaret Brennan said on “Face The Nation. “Will we see any movement on student debt in the new year?”

“So, I know that Sec. Cardona, the Secretary of Education, is working on what we can do and must do frankly to relieve the — the pressures of student loan debt, and it’s a real issue,” Harris said. “Students across — well graduates and former students across our country are literally making decisions about whether they can have a family, whether they can buy a home. … And it’s no small matter, and we need to figure out a way to relieve debt.”

When pressed by Brennan on whether it was important to deliver on debt forgiveness for student loans before the midterms, Harris responded, “Well, I think that we have to continue to do what we’re doing and figure out how we can creatively relieve the pressure that students are feeling because of their student loan debt. Yes.”

WATCH:

Larry Summers, who served as the 71st United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and as the 8th Director of the National Economic Council from 2009 to 2010, pushed back on student debt relief in a series of tweets on Friday, writing: “Judged purely in terms of economic impacts, the Administration’s decision to extend student loan moratorium is highly problematic.”

“At a time when unemployment is unusually low and household balance sheets are very strong for all income quintiles, there is no special case for across the board relief now, unlike when it was put in place two years ago,” Summers said. “The Admin understood this when it made clear the last round of temporary debt relief would be the final one & not be extended. How much things have changed since the onset of Covid when it was completely explicit that student loan relief would sunset after the previous extension.”

“The student debt relief is highly regressive as higher income families are more likely to borrow and to borrow more than lower income families. Adults with student  loans have much higher lifetime incomes than those without,” he continued, later adding: “Relief also promotes spending in the near term when the economy is clearly supply constrained thereby contrbuting to inflation pressures.”

TRANSCRIPT:

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to move on to foreign policy but just to button that up though, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it’s delusional for Democrats to think they’re going to win control in 2022 if they don’t do something about the filibuster and student debt. Will we see any movement on student debt in the new year?

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: So, I know that Sec. Cardona, the Secretary of Education, is working on what we can do and must do frankly to relieve the- the pressures of student loan debt, and it’s a real issue. Students across- well graduates and former students across our country are literally making decisions about whether they can have a family, whether they can buy a home. You know, I’ll date myself, but you know, I had student loan debt. I remember that coupon book, and I had to fill out the coupon and write the check every month. And it’s no small matter, and we need to figure out a way to relieve debt. So it’s a fair issue in terms of the seriousness of the issue. Voting we’ve discussed, it is a very big issue, and what I believe we must do is continue to be vigilant and fighting for folks who have a right to be seen and their circumstances to be heard and understood because we have the ability to actually alleviate the burdens that people are carrying that make it difficult for them to get through the day or in the month.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you think you need to deliver on that promise before 2022?

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Which promise?

MARGARET BRENNAN: On debt forgiveness for student loans?

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Well, I think that we have to continue to do what we’re doing and figure out how we can creatively relieve the pressure that students are feeling because of their student loan debt. Yes.

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