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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Made A Student Loan Payment During Meeting To Prove A Point About Corruption

One of the least talked about topics on the realm of American politics has to be the corruption of financial student loan institutions. The immigration crisis, climate change, and even healthcare are discussed more extensively, but when it comes to education and the high cost of college, the voices aren’t enough. However, it should be known that in the United States, the student loan debt is currently at $1.5 trillion. More than 44 million people are drowning in student loan debt, and one of them is a United States representative. 

During a committee meeting, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that she made a student loan payment, but she wasn’t slacking off.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was in the middle of a House Financial Services Committee hearing and said — to make a very valid point — that she had made a roughly $200 payment on the remainder of her student loan, which is now more than $19,000.

“I literally made a student loan payment while I was sitting here at this chair, and I looked at my balance, and it was $20,237.16,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said during the hearing. “I just made a payment that took me down to $19,000 so I feel really accomplished right now.”

The youngest lawmaker in the House of Congress wanted to show the corruption by student loan institutions and how several of those companies have ties to United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. She added that she feels strongly against the Republicans view on this topic, saying, “I’m hearing people on this committee say it’s not our job. This is our job.” 

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only lawmaker making student loan payments. There are 70 other members of congress that are still paying off their student loans.

The New York Post is reporting that “70 members of Congress who are still paying off student loans for themselves or a dependent — with an average debt burden of $37,000. Eight lawmakers are said to have more than $100,000 in debt.”

This is not the first time, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has spoken out about the student loans that paid for her college education at Boston University. Back in June, on the steps of Capitol Hill, she said this fight is personal for her“It was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman elected to Congress than it is to pay off my student loan debt.”

People who are making monthly payments to their student loans, on average, contribute about $300 a month, which is not enough if they owe at least $35,000. According to a report by CNBC, “About one in four Americans has student loan debt, with the average balance just over $37,000. The average student loan payment is $393 a month, which is almost 20 percent of the typical American’s monthly household income.”

Student loan debt is one of the contributing factors as to why people are postponing getting married, starting a family, and purchasing a home. They simply cannot afford to get into the next chapter in their life because they’re drowning in debt.

That is why Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians are fighting to forgive student loan debt and make college tuition-free.

Some may say people should have to pay their own debt, but others such as presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders said that millennials shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of corrupt student loan institutions.

“It is time to end the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation—the millennial generation—to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of doing the right thing: getting a college education,” Sanders wrote in Fortune

Furthermore, Sanders and the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates are also running on a promise to make college tuition-free, mainly state schools. New Mexico just announced they are offering free college education for state universities. Other states that are now offering a free college education includes Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Kentucky, and Indiana.

“This program is an absolute game-changer for New Mexico,” Governor Lujan Grisham said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “In the long run, we’ll see improved economic growth, improved outcomes for New Mexican workers and families and parents.”

READ: It Is So Hard To Pay Back Student Loan Debts In The US That American Borrows Are Fleeing To Live Abroad To Avoid Paying

Fifth Day Of Impeachment Hearings Show Republicans Desperate To Change The Narrative

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Fifth Day Of Impeachment Hearings Show Republicans Desperate To Change The Narrative

C-Span / YouTube

Thursday marked the end of five days of public testimony by dozens of witnesses and evidence put forward in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. While there is still so much to consider, it looks apparent that there have been no Republicans that have been swayed to support impeachment as of now.

If there is going to be any testimony that is going to change that, it had to have come on Thursday as Fiona Hill, who served as the senior director for Europe and Russia on the White House’s National Security Council before resigning last summer, took charge at Republicans. 

Hill, along with David Holmes, a political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, criticized Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee for putting forth such theories that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

“I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine — not Russia — attacked us in 2016. These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.” Hill said in her opening statements.

Hill gave an eye-opening testimony that criticized Republicans for taking part in advancing unproven claims that Ukraine not Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. 

Hill emphasized the importance of her testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee, especially what’s at stake in these hearings. She spoke about her background growing up in the U.K. and her family’s respect for America is why she became a U.S. citizen.

 Hill, who has served under three different Republican and Democratic presidents, also spoke at length about the dangers of having debunked conspiracies that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. The theory, which was promoted by President Trump, was based on the presumption that Ukraine favored Hillary Clinton and harmed Trump. 

“Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” she said. “In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.

Hill also spoke about her conflict with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and his efforts in Ukraine.  

Hill said she questioned Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, about his relationship with President Trump and his testimony on Wednesday that he was working on Ukraine policy at Trump’s direction. At first, Hill suspected Sondland was overreaching in his authority to push Ukraine to launch investigations into the Biden family. Later, he realized that he was acting on instructions given by Trump sent through his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. 

“He was being involved in a domestic political errand. We were being involved in national security, foreign policy,” Hill said. “And those two things have just diverged.”

She made it clear that Giuliani played an influential role in pursuing these investigations with Ukraine. He “was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would, you know, probably come back to haunt us and in fact,” Hill said. “I think that’s where we are today.”

What does all of this mean moving forward when it comes to President Trump getting impeached? It’s hard to say. 

As of today, Rep. Will Hurd of Texas is the lone Republican on the House Intelligence Committee that has found any of the president’s actions troublesome. While Hurd wasn’t pleased to hear how Trump has conducted foreign policy, it’s not enough to push forward impeachment.

“I disagree with this sort of bungling foreign policy,” Hurd said. “I have not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion.”

If Democrats are going to have any chance of proceeding with this impeachment inquiry they will need more Republicans to be swayed. These are important issues to consider as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats will have to decide how they’ll move ahead in this battle of impeachment.

One thing did become clear after five days of hearings: evidence is pointing clearly to the notion President Trump directed a foreign policy campaign to get Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Democrats in exchange for an Oval Office meeting.

 Whether that’s enough to move forward with impeachment is hard to say. If House Democrats do indeed move forward with articles of impeachment, a Senate trial in which Republicans can use their majority and easily protect Trump. 

READ: Latino War Veteran Files $1 Million Lawsuit Against ICE After Being Detained With American Passport In His Possession

Ambassador Gordon Sondland Gives Democrats New Information In Impeachment Hearings

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland Gives Democrats New Information In Impeachment Hearings

PBS NewsHour / Instagram

The fourth day of public testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump proved to be one of the most eye-opening days so far. Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told House Intelligence Committee members that President Trump was the person behind the push to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for a White House visit. 

Sondland said President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani asked Ukrainian officials to make a public statement that Biden would be investigated. This would be done in return for inviting President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House. This prompted one of the biggest moments in the impeachment hearings so far as Sondland said in the clearest terms that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. 

“I know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo?” Sondland said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.

U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony provided House Democrats with the strongest evidence yet in their inquiry into Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine’s

To this point in the impeachment inquiry, Sondland is the most significant witness yet and his testimony reflected that. Having Sondland testify was a challenge itself as he had previously been blocked by the Trump administration from testifying in the hearing but ultimately came forward to discuss his dealings. 

“I agreed to testify because I respect the gravity of the moment and I believe I have an obligation to recount fully my role in the events,” Sondland said. “I did so despite the directives from the White House and the State Department.”

From the ambassador’s accounts, he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and U.S. special envoy to Ukraine  Kurt Volker, who testified on Tuesday, were told by Trump to work with Giuliani on Ukrainian matters back in May. This didn’t sit well with Sondland and other State Department officials. 

“We weren’t happy with the president’s directive to talk with Rudy. We did not want to involve Mr. Giuliani. I believed then, as I do now, that the men and women of the State Department, not the president’s personal lawyer, should take responsibility for Ukrainian matters,” Sondland said. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.”

Another key moment on Wednesday from Sondland was that other senior officials that included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and current White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, knew about the quid pro quo for the potential White House meeting with Zelensky.

“We can see why Secretary Pompeo and President Trump have made such a concerted and across the board effort to obstruct this investigation and this impeachment inquiry,” House Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said during his opening statement. “They do so at their own peril.”

Republicans put Sondland’s testimony under scrutiny questioning his first-hand accounts of everything that went down between Trump and his dealings in Ukraine. 

Constant scrutiny from Republican members of the committee has been a common theme throughout the first week of these hearings. Even as the most damning claims against Trump have been heavily questioned in their legitimacy. Wednesday proved no different as Sondland shut down Republican arguments that the president had any intention of building a relationship and battling corruption in Ukraine. 

Republican members also questioned the validity of the hearings in part because Ukraine got its $400 million in U.S. aid despite Zelensky never announcing an investigation of the Biden family. 

Things weren’t much different from President Trump as reporters asked him what his thoughts were on the testimonies on Wednesday. 

Carrying some notes that he jotted down, Trump responded to Sondland’s earlier claims that he did indeed ask for a favor in return regarding Ukraine. “I want nothing! I want nothing!” Trump told reporters.  “I want no quid pro quo. This is the final word from the president of the United States. I want nothing.”

Trump also told reporters that he didn’t know Sondland saying, “This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” The statement is the latest walk-back from the president about his relationship with Sondland, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee. It also follows the president’s usual reaction to negative press by denying a relationship with any of the people involved.

Many Democrats see Wednesday as the first cracks in the impeachment inquiry hearings that lead to a possible criminal investigation. Looking at the way Trump has reacted to these hearings, things aren’t looking that great for him. 

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