Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

AOC student debt speech

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks about her own college debt experience during a December 2, 2021 House floor speech on canceling student loans. (Photo: YouTube screen grab)

'We Can Do It Again': Citing Covid-19 Test Reversal, AOC Calls On Biden to #CancelStudentDebt

"We can change decisions and conditions," said the congresswoman from New York. "We just did with the idea of sending out millions of free at-home Covid tests—initially laughed at, yet now it's happening."

Brett Wilkins

Amid reports that his administration is considering extending the federal college loan payment moratorium scheduled to expire on February 1, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday added her voice to the growing chorus of calls by progressives for President Joe Biden to cancel student debt.

Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) cited the Biden administration's about-face decision to distribute millions of free at-home Covid-19 testing kits, tweeting that the idea was "initially laughed at, yet now it's happening."

Politico's Michael Stratford reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Education "says it may postpone" its plan to restart monthly federal student loan repayments in February.

As Common Dreams reported, progressive lawmakers including Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) joined grassroots activists such as the Debt Collective in encouraging the administration to extend the moratorium.

Ocasio-Cortez—one of dozens of congressional lawmakers still paying off their college loans—is a longtime advocate of student debt cancellation. Speaking on the House floor earlier this month, she said U.S. student indebtedness is "getting ridiculous" and that she did not attend graduate school because "getting another degree would drown me in debt I would never be able to surpass."

"Growing up I was told since I was a child, 'Your destiny is to go to college. That's what's gonna lift our family up and out. That is our future,'" she said.

"We still do that today," Ocasio-Cortez added. "It's teenagers signing up for what is often hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and we just do that. And our government allows that. We give 17-year-olds the ability to sign on for hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and we think that's responsible policy."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

House Progressives Urge Reforms to 'Hold These Rogue Justices to Account'

Recent rulings by the Supreme Court's right-wing majority have made clear the need for substantive changes, including expansion, argues Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Kenny Stancil ·

'Win for Wildlife' as Federal Court Restores Endangered Species Protections Gutted by Trump

"In the midst of a global extinction crisis, the court's decision to vacate the rules will help ensure that imperiled species receive the protections they desperately need," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·

Senate Urged to Block Biden's Pro-Privatization Nominee for Social Security Board

"The Senate can, and must, block this terrible nomination," Social Security Works said of the administration's choice of Andrew Biggs.

Jake Johnson ·

GOP Senator Defends Guantánamo Bay Prison as 'Absolutely Vital Institution'

Sen. James Inhofe's comments come as congressional Democrats are reviving efforts to close the notorious U.S. military prison.

Brett Wilkins ·

Doctor Describes Gruesome 'Wartime Injuries' at Highland Park Shooting

"The people who were killed were killed instantly," said Dr. David Baum, who ran towards the victims after gunfire rang out at a July 4th parade.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo