May 24, 2023
Pressley Affirms Impact & Legality of President’s Student Debt Cancellation Plan
Remarks Come As Republicans Seek to Overturn President’s Debt Cancellation & Payment Pause, Harm Borrowers Working in Public Service
“Anyone who seeks to mislead the public and use the courts or harmful measures to gut essential relief should take a seat.”
WASHINGTON – Today, on the House Floor, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) delivered a powerful speech in support of President Biden’s plan to cancel student debt, which would benefit millions of people across the country. The speech comes ahead of a House vote on Republicans’ harmful Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn this essential relief, including the pause on student loan payments and expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Rep. Pressley has been a leading voice in Congress urging President Biden to cancel student debt. Following years of advocacy by Rep. Pressley—in partnership with colleagues, borrowers, and advocates—the Biden-Harris Administration announced a historic plan to cancel student debt that stands to benefit over 40 million people.
A full transcript of her remarks is available below and the full video is available here.
Transcript: Pressley Affirms Impact & Legality of President’s Student Debt Cancellation Plan
U.S. House of Representatives
May 24, 2023
I rise today on behalf of burdened borrowers throughout the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District and borrowers everywhere.
I rise today on behalf of the third grade teacher who spent a decade in the classroom, month-by-month making their student loan payments.
On behalf of the mother juggling three part time jobs, trying her best to stretch her paycheck to cover rent and to pay down her student debt.
For the one in four Black borrowers who will have their student loans fully canceled under President Biden’s historic plan.
You see, Mr. Speaker – student debt cancellation can and will change and save lives.
And this isn’t hyperbole. It is reality.
A diverse coalition of voters came together to press for cancellation, critical payment pauses, and updates to the essential Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Under this cruel measure, 260,000 public service workers could see their debt reinstated. Nurses, educators, firefighters, military servicemembers.
Let me make it plain: the President has the legal authority to cancel student debt.
And let me just say this: I took out loans. I paid off those loans. It took me 20-plus years while being a caregiver to my mother, by working three jobs sometimes.
I took out those loans and I paid them off, but I want an easier road for the next person.
The cost of higher education has increased by 150%.
So, I do not call this student debt forgiveness because borrowers have done nothing wrong. They don’t need to be forgiven anything, but they are deserving of and they do need relief.
And to anyone who seeks to mislead the public and to use the courts or harmful measures to gut essential relief, take a seat.
The people deserve and demand this relief and I urge my colleagues to vote no.