WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation Monday to zero out student debt for millions of borrowers.
The proposal – the College For All Act – would relieve the debt of all borrowers and would be paid for by a series of taxes on Wall Street, The Associated Press reported.
The Vermont senator’s bill follows a signature proposal unveiled by fellow presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren in April to forgive $50,000 of debt for every household with incomes less than $100,000 a year, and thousands in debt for households with incomes less than $250,000. The Massachusetts senator would finance debt relief with a tax on the wealth of multi-millionaires.
Sanders’ plan would tax the buying and selling of stocks, bonds and derivatives – which he has argued has the added bonus of reducing speculative trading.
Sanders and Warren have jostled for the support of progressives with ambitious policy proposals to reduce income inequality and expand the public sector as they work to match the lead of former Vice President and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, who is outpacing both candidates in early primary states.
Sanders unveiled his rival plan outside the Capitol at 11 a.m. Monday with chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Rep. Nanette Barragán of California and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Michigan, who will introduce accompanying legislation in the House.
The Sanders plan reaches 45 million people and cancels 100% of student loans; the Warren plan reaches 42 million people, 95% of borrowers, and cancels 75% of student loans.
Both senators have called for public universities to be tuition-free. Sanders made the proposal a rallying cry during his 2016 presidential run. And both senators argue that the debt cancellation would be an economic stimulus. Student debt acts as an anchor weighing down rates of home ownership and new small businesses, Warren said in a Medium post.
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