Omar, Sanders propose erasing college debt for 45 million people

Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., the sponsors of legislation to cancel all student loan debt, hold a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, June 24, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Minnesota DFL U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar joined Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and others Monday to highlight legislation that would erase the student debt of millions of Americans.

The proposal would cancel $1.6 trillion in student debt for about 45 million people, regardless of their income. The plan would also make tuition free at public colleges and universities. The estimated cost of the program would be $2.2 trillion over 10 years.

“Let’s end this crisis entirely once and for all,” Omar said during a Washington, D.C. news conference.

Omar, a House sponsor of the bill, said the mechanism to pay for it is a new tax on Wall Street transactions. The tax would be 0.5 percent on stock trades, 0.1 percent on bonds and 0.005 percent on derivatives.

“The American people bailed out Wall Street. It’s time for Wall Street to bail out the American people,” she said.

Sanders, the Senate author, said the legislation would allow all Americans, regardless of economic status, to get the education they need. He said the elimination of college debt would help boost the economy.

“We have a generation of people who are drowning in debt, can’t get married, can’t have kids, can’t buy their own home,” Sanders said.

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