by Frank Holmes, reporter
President Donald Trump may be the greatest supporter that American veterans have ever had — and he literally just took a billion burdens off the shoulders of our disabled vets.
President Trump wiped out one billion dollars in student loan debt owed by soldiers who were so injured while fighting for their country that they can never work again — or pay back their debts.
“Today I’m proud to announce that I am taking executive action to ensure that our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt,” President Trump told the AMVETS National Convention in Kentucky before he signed the executive order.
“The debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. It will be gone,” he said.
The government will pro-actively identify wounded vets and forgive their loans, so the disabled warriors don’t have to fill out more paperwork.
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The total write-off comes to $1 billion and the handicapped vets who can’t repay their share “can sleep well tonight,” Trump told the convention.
“My administration is committed to taking care of every warrior that returns home as a veteran,” said President Trump when he signed to order, alongside Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The sad thing is, the law he implemented was already on the books — so in other words, any president in the last 10 years could have done this. They just didn’t.
Shortly before leaving office, President George W. Bush signed the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. It says, “If a student borrower…dies or becomes permanently and totally disabled” in warfare, then the Department of Education has the responsibility to wipe out the “borrower’s liability on the loan by repaying the amount owed on the loan.”
That only makes sense: If a soldier signs up to protect our country and gets wounded so badly that he’ll never work again, you can’t expect him or her to be cleared of student loans.
About 50,000 veterans have been “totally and permanently disabled” and they all qualify for what’s known as TPD status.
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But only 9,000 of the vets eligible to have their loans paid off ever got the money. About 80% of TPD veterans never got a dime.
The rest owe an average of $24,000 in loans. And that’s not even the worst of it.
More than half of them — over 25,000 wounded warriors — are in default.
They’re wounded, adjusting to a new life without limbs or with severe PTSD, all because they went into a war we asked them to fight… and the government wouldn’t honor its obligations to them. No president before Trump has taken the opportunity to.
Instead of forgiving their student debts, the Obama administration made disabled vets jump through administrative hoops to get what was their legal right.
Obama officials even said they didn’t forgive the veterans’ loans, because they thought the vets didn’t want their student debts paid off!
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“Any concerns that some disabled veterans might not want their student loans discharged can be addressed by providing veterans notice and an opportunity to opt out of loan forgiveness or to seek reinstatement of their loans,” wrote the attorney generals of 53 states and U.S. territories in a letter to DeVos this May.
In came Trump and the rest was history.
Veterans, and the military in general, spent years feeling disrespected under Barack Obama, who forced them to hold his umbrella for the cameras while he turned a blind eye to veterans dying because of the VA health scandal.
President Trump has cleaned house.
He fired 7,600 people from the Veterans Administration and rooted out corruption in high places.
He signed the “Forever GI” Bill, that lets soldiers access their military education benefits anytime in their lives. After all, our country benefits from their service long after they retire; why shouldn’t they?
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He treats our veterans with respect. At the AMVETS conference, he said wounded warriors “have made a sacrifice that’s so great, and they’re such incredible people. And they never complain.”
Frank Holmes is a reporter for The Horn News. He is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”