New Bill May Outlaw Student Loan Cancellation

( – Student loan forgiveness is one of those hot-button topics where lawmakers are either staunchly supportive or opposed. It was one of the cornerstones of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in 2020, and while he has been able to get some debt erased, his administration is continuing to push forward, seeking a more comprehensive solution. A bill currently in the Senate may pave the way to an eventual end to all forgiveness.

Senate Bill 1939, dubbed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through fiscal year 2028. It also addresses a myriad of issues surrounding canceled or delayed flights, FAA authority, young children flying, and expanding air traffic controller training capacities. However, it’s what’s reportedly hidden in the bill that’s raising eyebrows.

One part of the bill includes text that would prohibit “mass cancellation” of federally-funded undergraduate loans for those who complete flight training and education programs. The language says officials “may not take any action to cancel or forgive the outstanding balances, or portion of balances,” on Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford loans. They also cannot modify the conditions or terms of such debt.

While the scope of the prohibition is narrow, it has naturally raised concern across the board. Some fear going after one sector is a gateway to broader bans on student loan relief. The Debt Collective, for example, a debtor’s union that regularly advocates for student loan holders, called the legislation “a test run.” If it should succeed, the collective says in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that Congress will “do it to nurses tomorrow, teachers the next day, and social workers the day after.”

The legislation has bipartisan support, with Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introducing it and Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) co-sponsoring it. It has not gone to the floor for a vote yet, but has been sitting on the Senate legislative calendar since February 29.

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