Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) submitted legislation on Monday to cancel $1.6 trillion of student loans that will relieve nearly 45 million people, CNN reported.
The bill, which aligns with Sanders’ progressive presidential candidate platform, will free millions from debt without any contingencies or eligibility limitations.
Sanders’ plan outlines that he will pay for the severed debt with a new Wall Street Speculation Tax, which he calls the Inclusive Prosperity Act, according to CNN. Experts believe the tax on Wall Street could raise over $2 trillion over the next 10 years, Forbes reported.
CNN reporters suggested that the announcement of this new plan came right in time for Sanders to solidify his spot as one of the most progressive candidates on the 2020 presidential campaign trail.
The legislation is likely a part of his larger “college for all” proposal to make college tuition free for public four-year institutions and community colleges alike.
Sanders’ free college program would also lower tuitions at private institutions that historically serve underrepresented communities, according to CNN.
“We are going to forgive student debt in this country,” CNN reported Sanders said at an event in South Carolina.
“We have for the first time in the modern history of this country a younger generation that if we don’t change it, and we intend to change it, will have a lower standard of living than their parents, more in debt, lower wages than their parents, unable to buy the house that they desire.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren also announced similar plans to address the nation’s growing student debt.Warren plans to cancel more than 95% of debt for American borrowers and wipe the educational debt slate clean for up to 75% of Americans.
However, Warren’s debt relief would cap support for households bringing in incomes over $250,000, according to her article published by the Medium.
Presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julián Castro and many other candidates in the Democratic field also believe in debt-free education in some capacity, according to Forbes. Still, none of them comes close to Sanders’ plan.
As the senator tweeted, “If we could bail out Wall Street, we sure as hell can cancel student debt.”