Trump orders to cancel disabled veterans’ student loan debt, about three months after 51 attorneys general urged the Department of Education to make the change. “It is America who owes our heroes an extreme debt of gratitude,” Trump declared, speaking at an American Veterans conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
He also thanked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for helping to implement a policy he joked that “nobody can complain about.”
The order, which Trump confirmed following a speech at the American Veterans National Convention in Louisville, Ky., also clears those eligible veterans from having to pay any federal income tax on the loans. Trump added that he is pressuring individual states to follow suit.
This order seeks to remove disabled veterans’ student loan debt to qualify for student loan mercy, which he said would save 25,000 wounded warriors an average of $30,000. “The debt of these disabled veterans will be completely erased,” Trump stated. “That’s hundreds of millions of dollars of student loan debt for our disabled veterans that will be completely erased.”
“We are honored to host President Trump as AMVETS commemorates its 75th anniversary,” the group’s national commander, Rege Riley, stated in a release. “While our members look forward to hearing about what the President has done for our veterans and military, we are also eager to hear his goals for the future.”
In April 2018, the agency established a data matching process with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help make it easier for those applying for cancellation and more than $650 million in student loan relief was granted to more than 22,000 eligible veterans until now, the Department of Education announced in a report Wednesday.
The rollout of the administrative action came through the American Veterans national convention in Louisville, Ky., where Mr. Trump was joined onstage by Betsy DeVos and the deputy secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, James Byrne.
“I am proud to announce that I am taking executive action to ensure that our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt,” Donald Trump declared. “They have made a sacrifice that’s so great. And they’re such incredible people. And they never complain. They never complain. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt held by our severely wounded warriors. It’s gone forever.”
The savings projected by the Trump administration represents a small fraction of about $1.6 trillion in overall student loan debt in the United States, which has become a point of emphasis among many of the Democrats running for president.
The order Trump signed directs the government to develop an “expedited” process so veterans can have their federal student loan debt paid “with minimal burdens.” Currently, just half of the roughly 50,000 disabled veterans who are able to have their federal student loan debt forgiven have got the benefit because of a burdensome application process.
Under the current process, disabled veterans can have their debt forgiven under a loan forgiveness program, called Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, or TPD, as long as they have a VA service-connected disability rating of 100%. However, only about 20 percent of the available pool of veterans had taken advantage of the program due to the complex nature of the application and other factors.
Through his speech, Trump highlighted the actions his administration has taken to address veterans’ issues too.
“One of the things we have done is you get that medical care quickly now,” Trump stated. “You used to have to wait weeks and weeks and weeks and you don’t wait anymore.”
“People are really happy about it,” he added, referring to his support of veterans’ choice, a system he signed into law last year that allows veterans to seek VA-funded care in the individual area under certain circumstances.
The President also touted his support of the VA Accountability Act, which he signed in 2017, and his administration’s efforts to address veterans’ suicide.”After years of neglect, we’re fixing the heartbreaking failures from the last administration at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” he said. “America must never abandon their heroes at their hour of need.”
With this move, and with this signature, the current US President Donald Trump has gained the veterans’ support and their interest, and this is a great privilege in the days leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election.