by Malik Glaspie & Omar Ross
On Monday, April 3, the Spartan Echo spoke with Senator Warner (D-VA) via telephone conference to discuss issues in education as well as foreign relations. Sen. Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate by Virginia voters in Nov. 2008 and re-elected to a second term in 2014. The Senator told the Echo his new bills allow the financial burden of student loans to diminish. Warner also offered his views on the President Trump-Russian wiretap story.
Sen. Warner immediately dove into his new bipartisan proposals and how they will positively affect college students struggling with student loan debt.
“Our bill would give graduates the flexibility they need to work with employers to secure lower interest rates and pay part of their student loans back tax free. This is an obvious win for graduates, but it also helps businesses attract and retain talented employees,” Warner said.
A collaboration between Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio (R-FL) resulted in the Dynamic Repayment Act. By encouraging greater participation in income-based repayment plans, the bill would help college students avoid problems of debt. Income based repayment would become the default option when dealing with repaying college loans.
“Our current federal student loan program is outdated and often leaves students and college graduates burdened with a significant amount of debt. As someone who once owed more than $100,000 in student loans, this issue is personal to me, and I will continue working to simplify this complex and bureaucratic student loan system,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement.
Sen. Warner suggested that this has always been an option for students, but the reason it is not fully utilized by students is because enrollment processes are confusing and burdensome. However, he believes the bills will make sure students have affordable payments and stronger borrowing protections.
“Student loan debt has a ripple effect in our economy, preventing people from taking chances that will benefit them, and the economy, in the long run. We must do more to help younger borrowers, most of them at the beginning of their careers, manage their student loan debts better. And we should allow businesses to consider offering a new employee benefit to help their employees pay-off their student debts,” Warner said.
The Employer Participation in Repayment Act, also introduced by Senator Warner, along with John Thune (R-SD), agree that their bill will help those with student loans by allowing employers to contribute up to $5,250 pre-tax money to their employees’ student loans.
During the interview, Warner easily dove into one of politics’ biggest current topics, the President Trump-wiretap conspiracy. The Senator agrees that the Russians are at fault for the hacking of both political parties and was one of the main reasons for President Trump’s win in last year’s election.
“I’ve been very involved in the Russian wiretap investigation and what Russia did to our country and whether there were any collaborations with the Trump administration. What we know they did, and I honestly am very surprised there is not any more outrage about this, and I don’t care what political party you are, it’s been really wild what the Russians did. Not only did they hack into both sides of the political bases, but they ended up totally releasing on the Democrats, that are John Podesta and others, to help Trump win,” said Sen. Warner.
With the details of the bipartisan proposals explained, it gives students of higher education hope that their financial cries will finally be answered.
In the meantime, while putting forward his two new education bills, Warner will not let up on his investigation into Trump and Russian influence.