Quick Takes: Clinton’s Plan to Reduce Student Debt

* Those who assumed that Hillary Clinton would pivot to the center once she became the presumptive nominee were wrong.

Hillary Clinton plans to promise a three-month moratorium on repayment of federal student loans to allow time to refinance or restructure high-interest debt, part of a larger package of education-related proposals intended to appeal to young voters…

“I want everyone to be able to refinance your student loans so you never have to pay more than you can afford and for people who go into public service, and I include teaching because it is the first and primary public service,” Clinton said at the National Education Association meeting in Washington. “Any remaining debt after you refinance will be forgiven after 10 years.”

Student borrowers could defer loan payments for three months under a reprieve she is promising to impose through the unilateral power of the presidency if she wins the election and becomes president next year. The proposal is expected to cost the federal government more than $1 billion, not because of the short hiatus but because of the lost interest when borrowers refinance to cheaper loans. Some of the cost could be defrayed by greater economic participation by borrowers, such as starting businesses or buying homes.

In addition to the plan she will announce on Wednesday, Clinton’s debt reduction proposals include limiting student loan payments to a proportion of the borrowers debt.

* Perhaps you’ve been wondering, “What’s Ted Cruz up to lately?” If so, here’s your answer:

Ted Cruz has been conspicuously silent since his return to Capitol Hill from the campaign trail, but the gears, as always, are turning. Behind closed doors Cruz has been supervising the vast expansion of his electoral enterprise, integrating the operations of his campaign team — policy, political, financial — in an effort to harness his newfound national following with an eye on 2020.

Central to these plans is the creation of two new affiliated nonprofits, their names to be announced in the coming days, which will effectively keep Cruz’s political machinery humming over the next four years. These groups, one a 501(c)3 and the other a 501(c)4, will be responsible for everything from championing Cruz’s legislative priorities to maintaining his donor database and coordinating his early-state travel. They will be an outgrowth of Cruz’s existing campaign apparatus, the nucleus of which has remained active in the aftermath of his departure from the race on May 3.

As Teagan Goddard said, he’s “plotting to take over the Republican Party after Trump loses.”

* Speaking of Trump, I’m really sick of hearing him throw out despicable accusations against honorable people based on zero evidence simply because he gets an urge to do so.

Republican Donald Trump is accusing Hillary Clinton of bribing Attorney General Loretta Lynch following a report that said Clinton would consider keeping Lynch if she’s elected president.

“It’s a bribe!” Trump declared at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, Tuesday, hours after the FBI said it wouldn’t recommend charges against Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

* I find it amusing to watch Speaker Ryan run into exactly the same dilemma that Boehner faced over and over again.

Already dealing with threats of another Democratic floor protest, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is now facing defections from the right on a GOP gun bill that conservatives complain is unconstitutional.

The handful of Republican naysayers has raised doubts about whether Ryan can muster enough votes from his own party to pass the gun provision. Backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the GOP legislation was favored by Republican leaders as a more acceptable alternative to Democratic gun-control bills.

But Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), an opponent of the GOP provision, said: “I think it’s dead.”

The moral of this story is: you can’t reason with the Lunatic Freedom Caucus.

* For a long time now I’ve thought that Bernie Sanders would make a better activist than politician. This story is a perfect example of why:

With the Democratic convention just weeks away, Sanders still hasn’t endorsed one-time rival Hillary Clinton and dodged questions about when he would during a tense meeting Wednesday morning with House Democrats…

House Democrats including John Garamendi of California and Joyce Beatty of Ohio asked Sanders for specifics on when he would ultimately get behind Clinton — questions that were accompanied by some cheers and clapping from other House Democrats, sources inside the room said.

Sanders didn’t give them a clear answer, according to attendees. Instead, the Vermont senator emphasized that elections are not necessarily about winning, multiple sources said, but about transformations — an answer that was met with some boos from lawmakers, one person inside the room said.

Activism isn’t always about winning. But elections are. No wonder a group of politicians booed him for that one.

* Finally, we’ve seen some effective ads this season against the candidacy of Donald Trump. This is a great example of one of those.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.