On The Money: Sanders will be gatekeeper for key Biden proposals | Senate majority gives Biden path to student loan forgiveness | Confirmation hearing for Yellen expected next Tuesday

On The Money: Sanders will be gatekeeper for key Biden proposals | Senate majority gives Biden path to student loan forgiveness | Confirmation hearing for Yellen expected next Tuesday

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Sanders to wield gavel as gatekeeper for key Biden proposals: The Democratic wins in Georgia have elevated Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhat’s the future of the Republican Party now? The Memo: GOP and nation grapple with what comes next Trump stares down new impeachment threat MORE (I-Vt.) to a key legislative role in the new Congress.

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCapitol Police confirm investigation into some officers’ behavior during riot GOP lawmakers told Trump takes some responsibility for Capitol riot Director of Army Staff disputes Capitol Police chief account of National Guard deployment MORE’s former primary rival is now set to become chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, where he will wield influence over some of the biggest legislative priorities under the Democratic majority.

As Budget chair, Sanders will have the opportunity to shape each reconciliation bill. He addressed that new role on Tuesday.

“In the past, Republicans used budget reconciliation to pass massive tax breaks for the rich and large corporations with a simple majority vote,” Sanders tweeted. “As the incoming Chairman of the Budget Committee, I will fight to use the same process to boldly address the needs of working families.” The Hill’s Niv Elis tells us what to expect here.



Senate majority gives Biden path to student loan forgiveness: President-elect Joe Biden and congressional Democrats secured a rare chance to wipe out student loan debt for millions of Americans with last week’s victories in the Georgia Senate runoffs.

  • The Democratic takeover of the Senate means Biden is in a much stronger position to deliver on a campaign pledge to sign legislation canceling up to $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers who make less than $125,000 a year.
  • Biden has called student loan forgiveness a crucial step toward recovering from the coronavirus recession, and there’s a growing expectation that his proposal would be included in a new COVID-19 relief bill — the top legislative priority for Biden and Democrats.

“With Democratic Senate control now assured, and our base case that Democrats pass another multi-trillion Covid-19 relief bill, there is a high likelihood that some form of federal student loan debt relief is included in such a package,” Beacon Policy Advisors, a Washington-based research firm, wrote last week.

“The real question in our minds is not if federal debt relief is included, but how much and which borrowers will benefit,” Beacon added. I break it down here.

Unprecedented momentum: Biden’s embrace of a progressive priority has put unprecedented momentum behind the left’s push to cancel much of the student debt held by the federal government.

  • Progressives and advocates have pushed for years for lawmakers and the federal government to take bold action against what they characterize as a student debt crisis. 
  • Roughly 44 million Americans owe the U.S. government $1.5 trillion in student loans, and many have not reaped the rewards of their heavily financed college education.

The impact: Biden’s proposal would wipe out education debt for about 40 percent of borrowers, potentially generating more consumer spending for the damaged economy and relieving a major financial burden for millions of households.


Confirmation hearing for Biden Treasury pick Yellen expected next Tuesday: The Senate Finance Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWall Street braces for tougher rules under new Democratic majority Biden urges Senate to quickly confirm key Cabinet picks Georgia and the everything market bubble MORE, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary, next Tuesday, a Senate source told The Hill.

The planned hearing date is one day before Biden’s inauguration.

If confirmed, Yellen is expected to play a key role in the new administration’s response to the coronavirus-related economic downturn. Yellen, the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve, would also be the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda has more here.