A senior Education Department official who oversees the U.S. student loan program will announce his resignation on Thursday and call for the cancellation of the nation’s student debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A. Wayne Johnson was appointed chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid in 2017 by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Johnson remained in his position for seven months, during which time he oversaw $1.5 trillion in student loans, before becoming chief strategy and transformation officer for the agency.
“The time has come for us to end and stop the insanity,” Johnson said, asserting the federal student loan system was essentially broken.
“We run through the process of putting this debt burden on somebody,” he said, “but it rides on their credit files—it rides on their back—for decades.”
Johnson, who describes himself as a moderate Republican, is planning to run for Senate to replace Senator Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.).
Johnson advocates forgiving up to $50,000 for anyone with federal student debt, which would immediately cancel the debt of 37 million borrowers. To pay for the plan, he proposes a one percent tax on corporate earnings.
Johnson’s plan would cancel more student debt than the proposal put forth by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) as part of her presidential campaign. Senator Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) has vowed to eliminate student debt for all borrowers in the nation.
Meanwhile, DeVos criticized Democrats’ loan-forgiveness proposals in an interview last week on Fox News.
“Their proposals are crazy,” she said. “Who do they think is actually going to pay for these? It’s going to be two of the three Americans that aren’t going to college paying for the one out of three that do.”