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Sanders to propose bill wiping student debt of 45M Americans

Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, addresses the crowd at a packed rally at Clinton College, in Rock Hill, SC on June, 22 2019.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is set to unveil on Monday legislation to eliminate all $1.6 trillion of student debt held in the U.S. and pay for it by raising taxes on Wall Street, the Washington Post first reported.

"This is truly a revolutionary proposal: all Americans will get the college education or job training they need, while having all student debt forgiven. We bailed out Wall Street in 2008. It’s time to tax Wall Street’s greed to help the American people."
— Sanders statement on Twitter

Details: He's to introduce the bill designed to wipe out the debt held by 45 million Americans with progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

Why it matters: Sanders revealed a plan in May to reform education with a focus on reducing racial and economic segregation. But this upcoming announcement is his most ambitious goal yet — and it goes much further than presidential rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) student debt-forgiveness plan, which has a cap on households with incomes over $250,000.

By the numbers: Sanders plans to pay for the action by hitting Wall Street with a tax his campaign says will raise $2.2 trillion over 10 years, according Vox Media.

Yes, but: Tax experts give lower revenue estimates, per the Post.

The big picture: Education policy has formed a key part of Sanders' platform. The Vermont senator's K-12 plan addresses the needs of students of color and low-income students with initiatives such as free universal meals and expanding after-school programs.

  • He's also pledged to reverse changes made by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, including those affecting Title IX and the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

This article has been updated with comment from Sanders, and more details on the student debt plan and his wider education policy.

Go deeper: Bernie Sanders on the issues, in under 500 words