Student Loans

Warren and Clyburn team up on effort to cancel student loan debts for 95 percent of borrowers
Legislation to be introduced in the weeks ahead

House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn is leading the House effort to cancel student loan debts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be joining House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn in an aggressive effort to cancel student loan debt.

“For far too many students and families, the cost of higher education has meant daunting debt and a lifetime of student loan repayments,” Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, said.

Retirement bill remains stalled amid Republican holds in Senate
Finance Committee chairman says as many as six GOP senators have issues with the bill ‘for different reasons’

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said the retirement savings bill, which has been worked on over the past three Congresses, “should have passed eons ago. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of Republican senators are holding up what could be the biggest retirement savings bill in more than a decade.

After sailing through the House on a 417-3 vote May 23 before the weeklong Memorial Day recess, supporters hoped the legislation would garner unanimous consent for quick passage in the Senate the following day. But senatorial holds accumulated and continue to stall the measure.

House Democrats telegraph policy priorities in Capitol Hill funding
Comparison of previous GOP, current Dem spending choices show differences

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attends a news conference with House Democrats on March 12 to introduce the “Dream and Promise Act.” The new majority’s Legislative Branch Appropriations bill would allow Dreamers to get jobs on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Empowered by their control of the House, Democrats are telegraphing their policy priorities in how they plan to spend taxpayer dollars on Capitol Hill, including exploring student debt relief options and employing Dreamers in Congress.

The fiscal 2020 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill is signaling what types of issues Democrats want to be talking about and working on, both for their constituents back home and right here on Capitol Hill.

Tax law hits 2020 Democratic presidential contenders unevenly
Returns show that despite similar incomes, Booker paid more, Gillibrand less

Income tax paid by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and her husband increased by more than $14,000 because of the 2017 tax overhaul, a CQ Roll Call analysis found. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who’ve released last year’s tax returns thus far are well-off enough to represent less than one-fifth of the taxpaying public, with incomes ranging from $100,000 to $2 million.

But their experiences are probably typical of many voters in similar circumstances: married couples with young children tend to do well under the 2017 tax law, though it helps to reside in lower-tax states.

Elizabeth Warren releases opioid plan ahead of Appalachian campaign stops
Legislation would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to tackle multiple aspects of the epidemic

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has unveiled legislation to address the opioid crisis, which she will address in her capacity as a presidential candidate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren rolled out Wednesday a revised version of her bill to aggressively ramp up funding to combat the opioid crisis in anticipation of a series of town halls the Democratic presidential contender plans to hold starting this week.

Life expectancy for Americans has dropped for three consecutive years, and drug overdoses are one of the top factors. Warren has been active on the addiction issue — especially speaking out against opioid manufacturers over their role in the crisis and pursuing funding increases to combat the health epidemic.

Trump’s economy is booming, and Democrats can’t handle it
The jobs report drops, and what do they do? Run all the way back to Obama

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been trashing the Republican tax cuts, but the jobs report throws a wrench in his plans, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — “There was a $2 trillion tax cut last year. Did you feel it? Did you get anything from it? Of course not. … All of it went to folks at the top and corporations.”

That was Joe Biden at a Pittsburgh union workers’ rally ten days ago.

Kamala Harris to push pay hikes for public defenders
California Democrat wants to bring parity with prosecutors

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is proposing improvements for public defenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Kamala Harris is set to unveil a new effort Wednesday to boost the pay of public defenders, as part of an effort to improve legal services.

Under a bill that the California Democrat — and 2020 White House hopeful — is set to introduce, there would be new limits on the workload for lawyers working full-time as public defenders, and a path to bring defenders’ pay in line what what is earned by prosecutors.

Kendra Horn still worries about her student loans. She’s not the only one
When the Democrat worked as a Hill staffer, she deferred her loans, brought her dog to work and (yes) sometimes disagreed with her boss

UNITED STATES - MARCH 6: Reps. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., center, Andy Kim, D-N.J., and Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., are seen before a House Armed Services Committee hearing titled "Outside Perspectives on Nuclear Deterrence Policy and Posture," in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Kendra Horn is the new lawmaker no one saw coming. An upset victory in Oklahoma sent her to Washington, but she’s actually been here before.

Back in 2004, between stints as a lawyer and a nonprofit executive, the Democrat briefly served as press secretary for Rep. Brad Carson.

Banks seek Congress’ help to block fintech path to ‘industrial’ charters
Industry group expects efforts to have bipartisan support on Hill

A bank industry group accuses financial technology firms like payment processor Square Inc. of trying to exploit a banking law loophole. (Courtesy Shutterstock)

A bank industry group is lobbying Congress to block financial technology firms, such as online lender Social Finance Inc. and payment processor Square Inc., from obtaining an obscure form of a state bank charter that would let them operate nationally with little federal supervision.

The Independent Community Bankers of America last week distributed a policy paper around Washington calling for an immediate moratorium on providing federal deposit insurance to industrial loan companies, or ILCs, which are chartered by only a few states — most notably Utah.

Members of Congress are rich with student debt
Reauthorization of Higher Education Act could affect repayment, affordability

68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members have student loan debt. (Illustration by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

As lawmakers look to reshape the federal loan process in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, a cohort knows firsthand the pain of rising college costs — 68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members are mired in student debt.

Collectively, the 44 Democrats and 24 Republicans have higher education liabilities of $2.5 million, according to recent financial disclosures. The median student loan debt is $15,000, while average debt is $37,000.