Western Pennsylvania U.S. Reps. Conor Lamb and Guy Reschenthaler have joined on a bipartisan bill that would automatically eliminate federal student loan debt for some permanently disabled veterans.
“Congress has an obligation to ease the challenges our veterans face when they come home and return to civilian life,” Lamb, D-17, Mount Lebanon, said in a joint statement. “This important bipartisan legislation provides a clear pathway for eligible disabled veterans to receive a benefit they have earned through their service and sacrifice.”
Joining Lamb, a Marine Corps veteran, and Reschenthaler, R-14, Peters Township, a Navy veteran, on the Federally Requiring Earned Education-Debt Discharges for Veterans (FREED Vets) Act were Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Bucks County; Joe Courtney, D-Conn.; and Andy Levin, D-Mich.
The statement said a companion piece was also being introduced in the Senate.
Under the current program, the U.S. Department of Education notifies veterans who are eligible to apply for debt forgiveness, according to the statement. The new legislation would automatically forgive such loans and eliminate the need for paperwork.
Just 20 percent of the 42,000 eligible veterans have applied for debt forgiveness, the congressional statement said.
“As a veteran, I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce legislation that streamlines student-loan forgiveness for disabled veterans,” said Reschenthaler.
“These men and women served on the front lines defending our nation,” he said, “and this bill will cut the red tape that stops them from receiving their benefits. I look forward to working with my colleagues in support of our nation’s heroes.”
Fitzpatrick said, “It is unacceptable that many disabled veterans continue to be saddled with high levels of student debt.”
© 2019 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.)
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