President Donald Trump on Tuesday night pledged to end the federal student loan debt snowball by ending the government shutdown and cutting off all payments.
The president, who was speaking to students at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, also said he would seek to “eliminate the federal government’s ability to take in more than $1 trillion in debt.”
“The student loan crisis has reached crisis proportions,” Trump said, adding that he would end the government’s debt collection program, which collects debt on behalf of students.
“We will end this massive debt-collection racket.”
Trump is also promising to end interest on the student loans that are currently being serviced through the Federal Student Aid Program, which helps students pay for college and graduate school.
He said that would also lead to an increase in revenue for the government.
“The FSA will pay down our outstanding student loans, allowing them to be forgiven and freed up to pay for our future education,” Trump declared.
“The Fsa program is a great program that will be better and more efficient.”
The student debt snowball has become a political flashpoint in Washington, with the president facing mounting pressure to take steps to resolve the issue.
A handful of lawmakers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have proposed legislation to close the snowball.
The House passed a bipartisan bill in December that would require student borrowers to repay all the student debt on their loans within six months, but it was blocked by Democrats and several Republicans who opposed it.
The White House also pledged in a speech last week to “solve the debt crisis by ending taxpayer-funded student loan programs.”
“We will immediately eliminate the student loan snowball and end the taxpayer-subsidized debt collection racket,” the president said.
“By ending this wasteful debt-sucking enterprise, we will restore our ability to pay down debt.”