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Ohio Congresswoman Shontel Brown applauds President Biden for forgiving up to $20,000 per person in student loan debt after NAACP National President Derrick Johnson and former Ohio senator Nina Turner criticize him saying $20,000 is not enough

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Pictured are Ohio 11th Congressional District Congresswoman Shontel M. Brown (D-OH) (wearing blue suit), whose largely Black 11th congressional district includes Cleveland and several of its eastern suburbs of Cuyahoga County, former Ohio senator Nina Turner of Cleveland, NAACP National President and CEO Derrick Johnson (wearing eye glasses), and United States President Joe Biden and

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor-in-chief

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Ohio Congresswoman Shontel M. Brown (OH-11), a Warrensville Hts Democrat whose largely Black 11th congressional district includes Cleveland and several of its eastern suburbs of Cuyahoga County, released the following statement after President Joe Biden's announcement  of his executive order that relieves federal student loan debt for millions of Americans up to $20,000 per eligible person.

"President Biden realized another promise that will bring student debt relief to millions of Americans, including the nearly 1.8 million people in Ohio burdened by student loans," said RepBrown, one of two Blacks in Congress from Ohio. "Collectively, Ohioans owe $62 billion in student debt, which has limited millions of working families in our state from achieving the American dream of home ownership and generational wealth."

Brown's praise of the president's student loan debt relief initiative follows criticism by the NAACP, led by its CEO and president Derrick Johnson, that $20,000 does not go far enough and that the president has reneged on a campaign promise to America's Black community to do more. Former Ohio senator Nina Turner, who co- chaired Sen Bernie Sander's unsuccessful campaign for president in 2020 and ran unsucessfully for Congress in the 11th congressional district last year when Brown won the seat and again this year for a Democratic primary election that Brown also won, agreed.

Also a former Cleveland council woman, Turner, 54, said that Biden did in Black women in failing to relieve a substantial amount of student loan debt and referenced it to "structural racism."

A staunch Biden ally who campaigned for Congress last year by branding herself a strong supporter of the president and Turner as an anti-Joe Biden candidate, Brown, 48, said that the president's plan will ease the burden of student loan debt particularly felt by low-income and marginalized communities who bear the burden the most.

"It is a step forward in the right direction to address racial and economic injustice, and I hope it helps to create a more fair and equitable country," the congresswoman said.

The NAACP, the nation's oldest Civil Rights organization for Blacks, says that racism and politics remain barriers to Blacks regarding debt relief for student loans, or for loans in general, some of them plaqued with high interest rates and unfair and illegal collection fees in the thousands.

“Our continued focus remains on closing the racial wealth gap and we will continue to press for scaled solutions,”  said Johnson, who has been national president and CEO of the NAACP, which is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, since 2017.” We encourage the biden administration to grant qualifying borrowers the promised relief quickly, without the red tape and bureaucracy that prevented millions from receiving public service loan forgiveness. The NAACP will continue advocating for equitable relief for the millions of borrowers who are caught in the student debt crisis."

RepBrown joined Reps. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown of Cleveland (D-OH), and a coalition of one hundred members of Congress in penning a letter in July to President Biden and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona requesting an extension of the student loan payment pause to provide relief to American families.

The president publicly announced the student loan forgiveness program, which is only applicable to federal student loans, late last month from the White House, saying "I made that commitment and I am honoring it today." He also extended the federal government’s pause on student loan repayments during the pandemic until the end of the year.

The long awaited initiative, which liberal critics say is hardly enough to address the country's student loan debt during a debilitating economy, would essentially cancel up to $10,000 of qualifying federal student loan debt and $20,000 for those who received pell grants. Also to qualify, an individual's annual  income must be $125,000 or less  with married couples capped at $250,000.

The initiative would instantly eliminate all outstanding federal student loans for up to 32% or 14.6 million borrowers who held less than $10,000 in debt as of the end of last month It  will also erase at least half of the student loan debt held by the 20.5% of borrowers who owe between $10,000 and $20,000, and will serve to  reduce $20,000 to $40,000 owed by another 21.4% of borrowers.

More than 40 million Americans are in student loan debt for seeking an education, owing a cumulative $1.7 trillion. But Republicans in Congress, fueled by conservative mainstream media pundits, say that Biden is fiscally irresponsible and too generous with taxpayer money, and that it is not the role of the federal government to forgive its high-price student loans with “handouts.” Republicans call the initiative "a $300 billion student loan bailout."

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor-in-chief (Coleman is a former biology teacher and a seasoned Black journalist, and an investigative, legal, scientific, and political reporter who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio). and the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.


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