Hasan Minhaj Asks Congress to Fix Student Loan Debt Crisis

Cara Howe/Netflix
Hasan Minhaj

"This issue is sidelining millions of Americans. People are putting off marriage, kids, homeownership and retirement — especially my generation," the comedian said Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Hasan Minhaj appeared before Congress on Tuesday, asking members to fix the student loan debt crisis.

"This issue is sidelining millions of Americans. People are putting off marriage, kids, homeownership and retirement — especially my generation," the 33-year-old comedian and talk show host told the House Financial Services Committee.

Minhaj recently highlighted the issue on an episode of his Netflix series Patriot Act. He went on to say that he surveyed his audience of about 200 people on Capitol Hill and discovered that they owed more than $6 million in student loans combined. He added, "Granted, our audience is mainly unemployed poli-sci majors, but that's still a lot of money."

Minhaj also said that "many borrowers are still treated like deadbeats because the government has put their financial futures in the hands of predatory, for-profit loan servicing companies."

"We’ve put up a paywall to the middle class. That’s why we put our entire show for free on YouTube. Because we care about the viewers," he continued, before joking, “Also, because you can’t find anything on Netflix."

Along with a panel of experts and consumer advocates, Minhaj testified before Congress for four hours, speaking in depth about the growing student debt crisis. According to government figures, student debt affects more than 42 million Americans, averaging almost $30,000 per borrower.

A handful of Democratic presidential hopefuls have spoken about helping student borrowers leading up to the 2020 election. The Trump administration has come under fire for seemingly ignoring the operations of student loan companies and for-profit colleges accused of preying on students.

However, both Democrats and Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee agreed that the student loan industry needs change, with House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) revealing that lawmakers are considering a series of bills, including creating a comprehensive borrower bill of rights and helping borrowers purchase first homes.

Watch Minhaj testify before Congress below.