News report

Legislation aims to ease teacher loan burden

Two New Mexico lawmakers have introduced legislation to extend student loan forgiveness to some educators, which sponsors say will help recruit and retain much-needed teachers.

Senator Ben Ray Luján and Representative Teresa Leger Fernández, both Democrats, introduced the bill on Thursday that asks the federal government to make monthly payments on federal student loans for educators who work in education programs early childhood and teachers in public institutions in need. schools. The loans would be fully canceled once the teachers had held these jobs for five years.

The legislation comes as President Biden’s administration has signaled it will pay off $10,000 to $20,000 in student loans for most Americans who have unpaid college debt.

In a press release, lawmakers said their bill would also attract more diverse people to the teaching field.

“Educators are the foundation of our classrooms and daycares – preparing the next generation of leaders and giving them the tools to succeed in life,” Luján said in a statement. “But teachers, childcare workers and school leaders are facing high costs of education and subsequent financial burdens, creating barriers that have only contributed to shortages. of labor affecting New Mexico and countless other states.”

Jahana Hayes, D-Connecticut, is also sponsoring the legislation.

NOT AT THE PARTY: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was one of many at an afternoon party at the White House last week to celebrate the Cut Inflation Act, a bill signed into law last month.

Most of the Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation were not at the party – which was criticized by some Republicans as out of touch – although they all supported the legislation.

The shindig featured a performance by singer James Taylor.

“The congresswoman would have loved to attend, but unfortunately couldn’t,” said Julia Friedmann, spokeswoman for Rep. Melanie Stansbury.

Adan Serna, spokesman for Luján, said the senator was busy with meetings on Capitol Hill, but otherwise would have been there. Leger Fernández was unable to attend due to his schedule, according to his spokesperson.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., center — flanked by Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., left, and Sen. Martin Heinrich, DN.M., right — wears his hat to the side for protection sunlight as President Joe Biden speaks about the Cut Inflation Act of 2022 during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sen. Martin Heinrich, who was in attendance, said he was proud to celebrate the law with the president and other Democrats. He said the legislation would fight inflation, cut health care and prescription drug costs, and make the tax code fairer for ordinary Americans.

“The Cut Inflation Act is the biggest step we’ve ever taken to change the trajectory of the climate crisis,” he said. “The investments, incentives and consumer rebates we have secured will move the climate needle further than ever by accelerating the widespread deployment of reliable, affordable and pollution-free electricity generation.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Yvette Herrell, RN.M., mocked the rally on Twitter, pointing out that the event took place on the same day an inflation report was released showing that prices in across the country rose 8.3% in August from a year earlier. Prices rose 8.5% in July from a year earlier, according to The New York Times.

“As hard-working American families wish they’d ‘have a friend’ in the Oval Office,” Herrell wrote on Twitter, referencing a Taylor song, “The White House is having a soft-rock party to celebrate a inflation of 8.3%.”

Ryan Boetel: [email protected]