April 21, 2021
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., are introducing legislation Wednesday that would make higher education free for most Americans by imposing new taxes on many Wall Street transactions.
The legislation would eliminate tuition and fees at public, four-year institutions for those from families earning up to $125,000 per year and make community college free for everyone. The push comes amid mounting pressure from progressives on President Biden to forgive some existing student loan debt and make higher education more accessible.
“While President Biden can and should immediately cancel student debt for millions of borrowers, Congress must ensure that working families never have to take out these crushing loans to receive a higher education in the first place,” Jayapal said in a statement.
There is widespread interest among Democrats in making college more affordable, but there has so far been little agreement on the best path for achieving that goal. Progressives like Jayapal and Sanders have pressed for free college for most students, but many other Democrats say that idea is either too expensive or not feasible.