'We Can't Turn Our Backs': 60+ Lawmakers Demand Biden Extend Pause on Student Loan Payments

‘We Can’t Turn Our Backs’: 60+ Lawmakers Demand Biden Extend Pause on Student Loan Payments

More than 60 lawmakers from the House and Senate on Wednesday demanded that President Joe Biden instantly lengthen a soon-to-expire pause on federal student loan funds and curiosity accumulation—whereas additionally working towards cancellation of the debt that’s saddling tens of hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout the United States.

“President Biden can and must cancel student debt with the stroke of a pen. We urgently call on him to act,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) stated in an announcement. “In the interim, extending this payment pause will provide a crucial additional layer of relief for millions of borrowers. We can’t turn our backs on these families as we work toward an equitable economic recovery.”

“We can’t turn our backs on these families as we work toward an equitable economic recovery.”
—Rep. Ayanna Pressley

In a letter (pdf) to Biden spearheaded by Pressley, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), 63 members of Congress notice that “the suspension of payments and interest during the pandemic has provided essential relief to borrowers and their families during this economic and public health crisis.”

According to a latest estimate by the Education Department, the pause on curiosity accumulation alone has saved debtors round $4.8 billion a month.

Former President Donald Trump first applied the student loan cost and curiosity pause in March 2020 because the coronavirus unfold quickly throughout the U.S., sparking a nationwide public well being disaster and ravaging the economic system. Trump subsequently prolonged the moratorium via the top of January 2021 and Biden—on his first day in workplace—prolonged it once more via September 30.

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With the pause now set to run out in lower than 100 days, debtors are getting apprehensive that the White House goes to depart them out to dry.

“At any moment this could come to an end, and then what are you going to do?” Richelle Brooks, a 33-year-old educator in Long Beach, California, advised the American Prospect final week. “The psychological turmoil of a moratorium without any explanation as to what comes next is twisted.”

In their letter on Wednesday, the lawmakers warned that “restarting payments… will present a significant challenge for borrowers, loan servicers, and the Department of Education (ED), and we urge you not to let the payment pause lapse when borrowers are still depending on this financial relief.”

“We urge you to act quickly to extend the current pause on payments and interest so that borrowers are not penalized and student debt payments do not drag down the pace of our economic recovery,” the lawmakers wrote. “Specifically, we ask that you extend the pause by at least six months—until March 31, 2022—or until the economy reaches pre-pandemic employment levels, whichever is longer.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has referred to as on Biden to make use of his government authority to forgive no less than $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower, stated in an announcement Wednesday that “President Biden should cancel student debt, but in the meantime he should extend the payment pause so that borrowers aren’t hurt.” Canceling $50,000 in student loan debt per particular person would totally wipe out the debt burden of 84% of debtors.

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In early April, the White House introduced that Biden had directed the Department of Education to arrange a memo on the president’s authorized authority to unilaterally cancel student loan debt, however almost three months have handed and the memo has but to be accomplished.

Increasingly pissed off by the president’s inaction on the difficulty, a union of debtors earlier this month launched a draft government order that will cancel each penny of the roughly $1.8 trillion in federal student loan debt at the moment held by greater than 40 million folks within the U.S.

“Our communities need help now, and canceling student debt is something the Biden administration can do today, without going through our dysfunctional Congress and seeking ever-elusive bipartisan support,” Braxton Brewington, a spokesperson for the Debt Collective, wrote in an op-ed for Teen Vogue. “Eliminating student debt would be an enormous bottom-up stimulus to our economy, creating millions of new jobs, accelerating home buying, and delivering additional pandemic relief to communities still recovering from the hardship of Covid-19.”