Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) outside the U.S. Capitol on March 11, 2021.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
- Rep. Ilhan Omar sent a letter to Education Sec. Miguel Cardona on student-loan forgiveness.
- She requested information on how the department will carry out the relief efficiently.
- While a final decision on relief has not been announced, Cardona recently said he will be prepared.
A progressive Democratic lawmaker wants to ensure President Joe Biden has all the resources he needs to carry out broad student-loan forgiveness.
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar led 55 of her colleagues in sending a letter on Wednesday to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona regarding the looming student-loan forgiveness announcement. Biden is reportedly considering $10,000 in relief for borrowers making under $150,000 a year, and while the announcement likely will not happen until July or August, Omar wants to ensure the department is prepared to effectively carry out whatever Biden decides.
“Under the expected executive order by President Biden, millions of student loan borrowers will be eligible to receive the benefit of loan cancellation,” Omar said. “It is important that borrowers get relief quickly and aren’t hampered by unnecessary roadblocks and obligations. The American public will depend on your agency’s ability to deliver debt cancellation quickly and efficiently, no matter the effort and resources required.”
She also noted that “we cannot abandon the millions of Americans who are still shackled to thousands of dollars in student loans and who are equally in need of urgent relief given the impacts of the pandemic and, more recently, the surge in consumer prices and interest rates.”
—Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 15, 2022
Omar requested a “comprehensive timeline” from the department for implementing student-loan forgiveness, including steps it plans to take to:
- Contact borrowers and ensure they can access the relief
- Work with student-loan companies in carrying out that relief
- And clarifying whether the cancellation amount would go toward interest or principal, and the additional resources the department might need to implement the relief.
And with regards to the potential of placing an income cap on student-loan forgiveness, Omar wrote that “should the administration not follow the strong advice of experts and academics against including an income cap or other means-testing,” how will the department get the income information it needs given it cannot access that data from the IRS.
Insider previously reported on the administrative burden income caps on student-loan forgiveness would bring to both the department and borrowers. The department doesn’t have data on hand to verify income, meaning the borrower itself would likely have to submit an application for relief and could result in paperwork errors and a backlog.
Top Republican on the House education committee Virginia Foxx also expressed concerns regarding the department’s preparedness for student-loan forgiveness. She wrote in a letter last week that “action is a comprehensive, smooth operation that follows careful planning and thoughtful consideration about all aspects of an initiative, from communications to implementation.”
“You said you are ready to act on student loan forgiveness, but you can only be ready if you know the plan; therefore, please describe, what is this plan?” Foxx wrote.
Amid those concerns, Cardona told reporters a few weeks ago that while an announcement on relief has not yet been made, he will be ready to carry out whatever it ends up being.
“We are prepared, we’re ready to roll up our sleeves… we’ve been working nonstop,” Cardona said. “We’re ready to move forward on these policies.”