WASHINGTON | TND — Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., talks to The National Desk about raising the debt ceiling, inflation and student loan forgiveness.
Schrier represents Washington’s 8th Congressional District. The 8th District covers parks of King and Pierce counties, straddling the Cascades to sections of Chelan and Kittitas counties.
We asked Schrier about several topics from the debate over raising the debt ceiling, to President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program and more.
When it comes to the battle over whether to raise the debt ceiling beyond the $31 trillion level, we asked if she’s seeing any progress or places for compromise.
“This is paying the money that we, as Congress, have already spent,” said Schrier. “It’s the responsible thing to do. It has happened dozens of times including several times during the Trump administration. This should not be a partisan issue.”
She said the debt ceiling needs to be raised enough to cover the debt we’ve incurred. She says otherwise we risk the financial credibility of our country. She adds not raising the debt ceiling could make inflation worse by increasing our interest rates.
“This is not a place to be monkeying around,” said Schrier. “ I’ve already introduced bills like cracking down on gouging by oil and gas companies who are making record profits right now.”
As the Supreme Court considers President Biden’s plan to wipe out some student loan debt, Schrier said there are ways to help students pay off their debt quickly without a blanket program. She said it starts with loan forgiveness that targets people who enter specific specialties.
“If you’re going in to study psychology and mental health, we need you and we’re going to help you pay off your debt,” said Schrier. “I’m thinking about policing and teaching. Those are areas where I think both parties can come together and get behind that kind of incentive.”
Schrier recently introduced bipartisan legislation along with her Republican counterpart from District 4, Dan Newhouse. It promotes trade and increases global competitiveness for farmers and exporters. Schrier said it’s important to open foreign markets for local growers.
“It allows for farmers or farming groups like the trade associations to advertise, for example, Washington apples, in other countries,” said Schrier. “By being able to advertise, we can increase market share and market access and support family farms here in Washington State.”
Another priority for Schrier is the Rural Physician Production Act. She said the idea is based off the fact that physicians end up practicing where they’re trained. She said most physicians are trained in cities at places like the University of Washington and Children’s Hospital which are in Seattle.
“If we want to have physicians in rural America, then we need to start training physicians in rural America,” said Schrier. “This just increases those programs so we can have a whole new crop of doctors who are bonded to their communities and stay long term.”