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The HEROES Act fixes what the CARES Act broke

Conservatives call the House Democrats’ Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act a “gigantic political scam.” Senate Republicans say HEROES, passed by the House on May 15th, is “dead on arrival when it reconvenes. As they negotiate with Democrats, Republicans should think carefully about certain student loan relief provisions in the bill.

Even in good times, a substantial portion of 45 million Americans’ paychecks go to student loan payments rather than to goods and services that keep our economy churning. There’s little doubt that this debt contributes to suppressed consumer consumption, which stifles economic growth. In this bad time, Americans collectively owe $1.6 trillion in student debt. This debt burden is now dramatically heavier with the economic shutdown and coming diminished post-pandemic employment opportunities.

Some say no additional student loan relief is needed because the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that Congress passed in March temporarily suspended student loan payments. That would be a decent argument if CARES applied to everyone, but it doesn’t.

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