Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York State) looks down the hallway after speaking with reporters after a weekly Senate Democratic Politics Luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, July 20, 2021.
Elisabeth Franz | Reuters
Key Democrats called on the president on Tuesday Joe Biden extend the suspension of federal student loan payments, arguing that refusing to continue the policy would burden borrowers and make it difficult for the economy to recover.
The Biden administration has suspended payments, interest accumulation, and levies on loans held by the Ministry of Education until September 30. The policy took effect last year when the coronavirus pandemic devastated the U.S. economy.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.Yu., Sep. Elizabeth WarrenOn Tuesday, Massachusetts and Rep. Aianna Pressley pushed for Biden to extend the moratorium until at least March. They also renewed their calls for the president to write off up to $ 50,000 per borrower on federal student debt through executive action.
“We urge President Biden to act urgently,” Pressley told reporters. “Failure to act would be shameless and undermine our economic recovery.”
A White House spokesman did not immediately answer the question of whether Biden plans to extend the pause in payments or write off any federal student debt.
Americans have about $ 1.7 trillion in student debt. During the pandemic, the suspension of payments on government-owned shares helped millions of people cover their living expenses after the economic downturn.
The economy recovered this year as Covid-19 vaccinations increased and state and local governments lifted restrictions. The unemployment rate stood at 5.9% in June, up from a peak of 14.8% in April 2020.
Pressly quoted in part surge in Covid infections in the US fueled by the Delta option as an excuse to maintain the suspension of payments. Warren also pointed to a Pew Charitable Trust study in which it found that more than two-thirds of federal student loan borrowers were not ready to resume payments.
“Choosing what to pay is going to be the hardest for the most vulnerable among us,” Warren said.
Proponents of federal loan forgiveness say the payments are deterring Americans from starting a business and making big purchases and placing a disproportionately heavy burden on borrowers of color.
Schumer, Warren, and Pressley have argued that the president has the right to forgive federal debt on his own.
“All President Biden has to do is click his pen and sign it,” said the Senate Majority Leader.
Biden called on Congress to forgive up to $ 10,000 in student loans per borrower. He said he was concerned that a debt relief of up to $ 50,000 per person could benefit higher-income earners.
The White House previously said that members of the Biden administration would prepare memoranda outlining the president’s authority to forgive debts before he makes a decision. However, it is unclear whether he received the notes or viewed them.