Friday, October 23, 2015

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chairs Rep. Ellison and Rep. Grijalva Along With Rep. Marcia Fudge Deliver Letter and 375,000 Petition Signatures to the Department of Education Urging an End to Social Security Benefit Garnishments for Student Debt.

(Washington, DC) Yesterday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) joined leaders from the Student Debt Crisis, Social Security Works, Project Springboard, CREDO, Campaign for America’s Future and others to deliver 375,000 petition signatures and a Congressional letter to the Department of Education urging an end to Social Security benefit garnishments for student debt.

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More photos of the event can be found here: Photos

Video of the event:  Petition delivery video

“Americans know that going to college helps pave the way to more opportunities. But the high costs of tuition and student loans leave people of all ages with huge amounts of student debt. It’s wrong to garnish the small Social Security checks of older and disabled people in order to pay for their student loans. People should not lose their hard earned benefits—averaging only $1200/month– in order to pay their student loans. We should find ways to offer more affordable education, lower interest rates, and better repayment options. The Administration has the power to stop this practice. Thank you to Social Security Works for their leadership on this issue and to every American who signed this petition.”– U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus 

“It is appalling that Social Security support for seniors and those with disabilities is being skimmed to feed into an out-of-control student debt machine. These funds are intended to ensure dignity in retirement and to lift individuals out of the depths of poverty. I’m proud to join the voices of over 375,000 other Americans in calling for an end to this ill-conceived practice today.” — Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus

“Garnishing Social Security benefits for student loan debt is a significant blow to our seniors, especially when a growing percentage of older Americans rely on the program as their sole source of income. Social Security is not just another check for many Americans. It is an essential economic lifeline. College and advanced training should be affordable, and not create a financial burden that continues into retirement. Our federal government should not punish Americans for striving for a better opportunity, or supporting children and other family members working hard to pursue their dreams.” — Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, House Committee on Education and the Workforce

“As the heads of Social Security Works and Student Debt Crisis, we pledge that we will always fight in solidarity with each other. Those of us fighting to solve the student debt crisis will also fight to expand Social Security, including restoration of the student benefit; and those of us fighting to expand Social Security will fight to end the student debt crisis. We make these pledges because we know, the people united, can never be defeated.” Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works and Natalia Abrams, Executive Director of Student Debt Crisis

 “We at the Campaign for America’s Future have fought to protect and expand Social Security.  We are also helping build the movement for debt-free college – and to wipe out the massive student debt that burdens individuals and our economy.   We believe that once people depend on Social Security for most of their income, they should not continue to pay student debt from their Social Security benefits – and nobody should see their benefits garnished to pay decades-old student debt. We are proud to stand with other group – and with Members of Congress – to demand a moratorium on the garnishing of Social Security benefits.” Roger Hickey, Co-Director of Campaign for Americans Future and CAF’s National Student Debt Jubilee Project.

“There is nothing secure about Social Security if the government takes it away from you to pay for a basic human right it failed to provide. The U.S. government could easily guarantee freedom from want if it made up its mind to cut military spending and increase taxes on Wall Street speculation and the very wealthy.” — David Swanson, Communications Coordinator for

“Garnishing hard earned Social Security to pay for student loan debt is a slap in the face to struggling working families all across the country. The Department of Education shouldn’t unravel the critical safety net that Social Security provides for the countless Americans who rely on it.  Democracy for America and our over one million members join our allies in calling on the Department of Education to establish a moratorium on Social Security garnishment for student loans.”  — Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America

“Social Security benefits are supposed to be a guarantee that Americans can count on, not a source of revenue for the Department of Education. It is time for Secretary Duncan to recognize that we can’t solve our student debt crisis on the backs of senior citizens.” — Josh Nelson, Communications Director at CREDO Action.