Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A group of senators on Wednesday called on the Trump administration to immediately discharge outstanding federal student loans for permanently disabled Americans and veterans.
Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Chris Coons, D-Del., and Angus King, I-Maine, sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying the newly enacted tax reform legislation should be an impetus for forgiving the debt since discharged student loans are no longer required to be included in the gross income of disabled borrower.
"Therefore, loan forgiveness in these cases is tax exempt," the letter reads. "Now that Congress has removed the potential tax consequence associated with this type of loan forgiveness, the senators are urging the department to immediately begin discharging student loans for eligible individuals."
The letter also was signed by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Peter Roskam, R-Ill. And it also was sent to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Nancy Berryhill, acting commissioner of Social Security.
"Moving quickly in discharging these student loans is especially important given that the Department of Education is well aware of a significant number of Americans who qualify but have yet to receive loan forgiveness," the letter continues.
Some 44 million Americans owe a total of more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt. The average amount of student loan debt for the Class of 2016 was $37,172 and there's a 90-day or more delinquency rate of 11.2 percent.