The largest labor federation in the country calls on Biden to cancel student debt: 'We cannot ask working people to make further sacrifices'
- The AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the US, called on Biden to cancel student debt.
- Its president, Liz Shuler, wrote that "we cannot ask working people to make further sacrifices."
The largest labor federation in the US just joined the student-loan forgiveness fight.
On Thursday, the AFL-CIO's president, Liz Shuler, called on President Joe Biden to enact broad debt cancellation for federal borrowers. As Biden is becoming closer to making a decision on loan relief, she is the latest advocate to push the president to deliver permanent relief to borrowers before payments are set to resume after August 31.
"Organized labor was built on the foundation of creating a pathway to the middle class for everyone, but skyrocketing student loan debt has become an insurmountable obstacle to achieving this goal," Shuler wrote on Twitter.
She added that while the pause on student-loan payments has made "a tremendous difference" for many borrowers, "we cannot ask working people to make further sacrifices."
"Now is the time to cancel, not collect, student debt," she said.
—Liz Shuler (@lizshuler) May 12, 2022
The AFL-CIO has 12.5 million members spanning 57 unions. The federation has been thrust into increased prominence amidst an upswell of organizing. Biden has been an outspoken proponent for organized labor, declaring that he intends to be "the most pro-union President leading the most pro-union administration in American history."
With Biden's continued focus on the labor movement — from forming a task force on strengthening union membership to inviting workers to the White House — a call for cancellation from the AFL-CIO is consequential.
As of now, it's unclear what student-loan relief Biden will decide on. He recently told reporters he is not considering $50,000 in debt cancellation — an amount many progressive lawmakers have pushed for — and his Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed any relief will be targeted to those making under $125,000 per year.
Despite Republican criticism of broad relief, arguing it will cost taxpayers and the economy, many Democrats have maintained that canceling student debt will help borrowers and allow them to put money back into the economy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told senators during a hearing this week that debt forgiveness "could be good for the economy."
"I agree that student debt is a substantial burden to many people," Yellen said. "They have either not completed their degrees or haven't found themselves with enhanced skills that enable them to do well in the job market."
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