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Biden extended a student-loan-payment pause an additional three months through May 1.
He said borrowers should use this extra time to prepare for the resumption of payments.
But some lawmakers and advocates said this extra time should be used to cancel student debt.
Last month, President Joe Biden gave 43 million federal student loan borrowers an additional three-month Christmas present.
While the president said borrowers should use this extra time to prepare for resuming payments on May 1, some lawmakers and advocates have said it should be used to write off student debt instead.
On December 22, the Education Department announced it would move the target date for resuming student loan repayments from February 1 to May 1, citing the Omicron coronavirus variant as the main reason for the change. Without specifying whether this would be the “final” extension, contrary to the August announcement, Biden urged federal borrowers in a statement to use the extra time to prepare for repayment in 90 days.
“As we take this step, I also call on all student loan borrowers to do their part: make full use of the resources of the Department of Education to help you prepare for the resumption of payments; examine options for reducing payments through income repayment plans; explore the public service loan remission; and make sure you’re vaccinated and boosted when you’re eligible, ”Biden said in December.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona echoed the sentiment, saying in a statement that the ministry “will continue to provide tools and support to borrowers so that they can participate in the repayment plan which is sensitive to their needs. financial situation, like a plan.The extension adds to the nearly $ 12 billion student debt that Biden has written off for targeted groups of borrowers, such as those scammed by for-profit schools, since taking office.
Leading lawmakers on the massive student debt cancellation have applauded Biden’s extended suspension of payments. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley said in a statement the hiatus allowed borrowers to “make ends meet” and pay for basic necessities, but they still wants Biden to carry out his loan forgiveness campaign.
“We continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to write off $ 50,000 in student debt, which will help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate the recovery of our economy,” said the legislators.
Yesterday President Biden announced he was extending the pause of student loan payments for 90 days.
Today would be a great day for a follow-up announcement that he’s going to #CancelStudentDebt!
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 23, 2021
Supporters of student loan cancellation agree. Natalia Abrams, president of the Student Debt Crisis Center, said in a statement that the Omicron variant is “a chilling reminder that the pandemic is still a serious concern and that Americans cannot be crushed by student debt as they shoulder this health and economic crisis.
While Biden has pledged during his campaign to approve a $ 10,000 student loan forgiveness, he has yet to deliver on that promise, and some lawmakers have said it could cost the majority over Democrats in the 2022 midterm election.
Alexandria OcasioCortez of New York said last month that it was “really illusory” to think Democrats can be re-elected if they don’t act on priorities voters, such as student debt.
Vice President Kamala Harris addressed supporters’ concerns in a “Face the Nation” interview late last month, he said. must continue to be “vigilant” on the issue, but has not provided for specific means to obtain relief for borrowers.
“Well, I think we need to keep doing what we’re doing and figure out how we can creatively relieve the pressure students are feeling because of their student loan debt,” Harris said.