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Rep. Ro Khanna concerned student loan debt could be a hurdle to raising children, buying homes

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Rep. Ro Khanna said he’s concerned student loan debt could prevent Americans from starting families or buying homes.

“It leads to young people not wanting to have families,” the California Democrat told Fox News. “It means young people aren’t able to buy homes.”

FREMONT, CA – SEPT. 17: Representative  Ro Khanna speaks to the media as he meets with families from Afghanistan  at Warm Springs Community Park on Friday, September 17, 2021 in Fremont , Calif. (Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

President Biden has twice extended a pause on student loan payments, which first started in March 2020 to alleviate economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and response. The freeze is set to expire after April 30, but multiple outlets have reported that the White House will extend the pause through Aug. 31.

“I support extending the pause, and I support canceling it for working families,” Khanna told Fox News. “It is wrong that young people are starting out 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars in debt.”


Biden announced a $5.8 trillion dollar budget proposal last month. Khanna supported the plan for its focus on “lowering costs for working families,” though it didn’t include a plan for student debt relief.

The president campaigned on helping student loan programs and forgiving up to $10,000 dollars per person in federal student loans. Biden has so far canceled more than $17 billion in student loans, CNN reported.

Around 43 million Americans owe $1.6 trillion in student debt, according to the Department of Education.

“Do we have anyone go into debt to finish junior high school? No. Do we have anyone going into debt to finish high school? No,” Khanna added. “So why should it be okay to go into debt to get your vocational certificate or to get some community college or college?”

Americans should all be able to get an education “without going thousands of dollars into debt,” Khanna told Fox News. For student debt to be cleared, the debt would partially need to be “written off” and would involve raising “the top tax rate up to 39%” as it was under President Clinton,” he added.

“How is it that some corporations are paying zero percent tax?” Khanna said. “We can make sure that people who are very, very wealthy are paying at least 20%. That is what teachers and firefighters pay.”

At least 55 corporations didn’t pay any federal income tax in 2020, according to a study conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Critics pointed out that the report was not based on tax returns. Nike, one of the 55 companies highlighted, for example, said it had paid $9.6 billion in taxes since 2016.

“We need tax reform in this country so that people who are wealthy and corporations are wealthy are paying their fair share,” Khanna told Fox News.


Khanna’s congressional district lies in the heart of Silicon Valley. The Democrat told Fox News his district “has $11 trillion dollars of market cap” and that many billionaires in the district are open to “paying a little bit more in tax” in order for everyone else to “get a fair shot at the American dream.”

(Google Maps/Getty Images)


Khanna said opponents of student loan forgiveness argue that if they or their parents paid for student loans, then everyone should. The congressman said he has “so much admiration for parents who made those sacrifices for their kids.”

“My parents sacrificed so they could pay some of my college education, my brothers’ college education,” Khanna told Fox News. “That doesn’t mean that just because your parents did it or you did it that we want to not do something better for the next generation.”

“How is that good for our country?” Khanna continued. “I wish we could have a bipartisan consensus that you can start your life in this country not 20, 30 thousand dollars into debt.”

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