On Monday’s broadcast of “CNN Tonight,” Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan (D-OH) responded to a question on his past positions on student loan cancellation and when he changed his mind by stating that “We support these kinds of things, but you can’t do it in a vacuum.”

Host Victor Blackwell asked, “[Y]ou have, for years, advocated for more than just renegotiating the debt. Let’s go back to 2018 when you called on Congress to ‘do more to help [bring this debt down] and make college more affordable,’ in 2018, you tweeted in favor of student debt relief. 2020, you voted in favor of a bill that included plans to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt. Later that year, you cosponsored bipartisan legislation to provide student debt relief to essential workers. Also, in 2020, you supported an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that required the federal government to provide $10,000 in assistance to some private student loan holders. When did you change your mind?”

Ryan responded, “Well, look, I’m the first to acknowledge that college is extremely high, extremely pricey, most people can’t afford it, that the interest rates are way too high, and we need to do something to be helpful. But I don’t think doing that just in a vacuum without doing anything to control college cost — like, look, yeah, of course, everybody’s for helping out these people who are getting charged 10% or 12%. We have to do something. But that shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. It needs to be happening — especially coming out of the pandemic, especially with huge inflation — we’ve got to help all workers. So, that’s why I say, if you’re going to do this, let’s do a broad tax cut that helps all working families. And if you’re going to do something with college debt, then you better do something equally as bold with college costs because there’s no way we should just throw money at this problem without solving the actual root cause of the problem. And that’s the argument I’m trying to make. We support these kinds of things, but you can’t do it in a vacuum. You’ve got to make sure you’re controlling college costs and that everybody else who’s working just as hard, making 40, 50 grand, they may have bought a truck, went into the building and construction trades. They had to buy a truck. No one’s going to take care of their loan. You’re traveling around as a home healthcare worker, you’re paying $3.50, $4 a gallon of gas, who’s helping that person? So, all I’m saying is everybody needs help. That’s how we should address this. And if you’re going to zero in on college loans and debt, you better do something about college costs.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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