Fresh off testifying at the first-ever US House Committee on Financial Services hearing on the student loan crisis, Hasan Minhaj used his platform at the Tribeca TV Festival on Sunday to continue the discussion around the issue that he says affects 44 million people in America.
“This is a huge problem,” the comedian and host of “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” said. “Our generation was told you got to go to college. College is not a debatable thing. So we did this thing out of self-betterment. And now people with student loan debt are treated like deadbeats.”
Minhaj, who had been invited to testify by congresswoman Maxine Waters, noted that we are at a place in pop culture and political culture where being a figure in the former is can “move the needle on an issue.”
Minhaj said he prepared for the day by watching “a lot of C-SPAN” and spoke about being too nervous to take a restroom break during the hearings. However, Minhaj did express confidence that the American people would work to put an end to the debt.
“I think this is a winnable issue,” he said. “It’s going to be a big issue that will be talked about in the 2020 election. Any way I can help to sort of get that ball rolling, I wanted to be a part of.”
However, when asked about the 2020 election and Donald Trump’s competitors, Minhaj’s remarks were not as confident.
“[Trump] unfortunately has lowered the bar and the class that comes with the office,” Minhaj said. But when it comes to the democratic hopefuls, he said, “It feels like picking your favorite podcast where you’re like, ‘I like them all for different reasons.’ But we have to pick one. … We don’t have coalition governments like other democracies around the world. We have a winner-take-all, which oftentimes makes everything a zero-sum game. It’s just unfortunate.”