She is exceptional in many ways, but like many Americans her age, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, has student loans.

According to her 2018 financial information, the congressman repays between $ 15,000 and $ 50,000 in student loans. On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez referred to his student loan balance during a press conference showcasing the College for All Act. Sponsored by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Senator Bernie Sanders, the bill aims to eliminate “the entire $ 1.6 trillion student debt for 45 million Americans” .

“I also have student loans,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “I think it’s so funny, a year ago I was serving tables in a restaurant and it was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman in American history elected to Congress than to pay my money back. student loan debt. “

She continued that “for me to be lucky enough to have health care, for me to have the chance to pay off my student loans, I had to do something that was next to impossible. And I don’t think that’s the bar by which a person should be able to access education, health care and a host of other things that should be considered human rights.

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Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only representative with student loans. In 2018, Roll Call estimated that 10% of Congress student debt heldeither personally or for a family member. Of the 530 voting members of the 115th Congress (431 members of the House of Representatives and 99 senators, minus vacancies), 53 indicated that they owed a total of $ 1.8 million in student loans on their financial statements.

Former President Barack Obama has also previously spoken about how he and the former first lady paid off student debt until their forties.

“We all graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt. And although we had good jobs, we barely finished paying it right before I was elected to the US Senate.” Obama said. an audience in Buffalo, New York. “I mean, I was in my 40s when we finished paying off our debt. And we should have saved up for Malia and Sasha by then.”

Student loan debt, Ocasio-Cortez said, causes “an economy-wide systemic threat to cripple our economy” because people of his generation don’t buy homes or homes but instead focus on the repayment of student debt.

The College for All Act would eliminate tuition and fees from all public four-year colleges and universities, community colleges and trade schools. Lawmakers suggest funding the estimated $ 2.2 trillion cost of the bill with a Wall Street transaction tax. Ocasio-Cortez and colleagues say the ambitious proposal is an important part of ending the cycle of student debt.

“What we tell 17 year olds all the time is that you are not old enough or responsible enough to drink, you are not old enough or responsible enough to vote, you are not enough old or responsible enough to serve in our military, but you are old enough and responsible enough to incur a quarter of a million dollar debt, ”she said.

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