Democrats press administration to continue student loan payment hiatus

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Over 60 Congressional Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday asking him to continue a coronavirus-era break on federal student loan payments for at least another six months.

The student loan payment break is scheduled to expire on September 30. The Democrats who signed the letter, led by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from New York, are asking Biden to extend the recess until March 30, 2022, or until employment to reach pre-pandemic levels.

“Borrowers have reaped significant benefits from the ongoing payment hiatus, taking the opportunity to repay other debts, relieve financial pressures from job loss or declining income, and meet the needs of their families, ”the members wrote.

“The expected resumption of student loan repayments in October could significantly slow our economic recovery,” they added.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) led the letter asking President Joe Biden to maintain a moratorium on federal student loan payments.

Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The Education Department, which manages the federal government’s $ 1.4 trillion student loan portfolio, declined to comment on the letter. This portfolio, which covers debt held by more than 40 million borrowers, constitutes the bulk of student loan debt in the United States.

While many of the 64 Congressional Democrats who signed the letter are Liberals who have long called for action to cancel student loans, several moderate Democrats – including Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Connecticut Representative Jim Himes – were also signatories.

Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) And Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) Were the primary authors of the letter among House Democrats.

Former President Donald Trump launched the moratorium shortly after the start of the pandemic, and Biden extended it until the end of September on his first day in office. Whether to extend the moratorium is a crucial decision for Biden, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Director General of Federal Student Aid Richard Cordray.

Supporters of student loan reform and the cancellation of large amounts of student debt overwhelmingly applauded the May appointment of Cordray, a Warren ally who headed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during Barack Obama’s presidency.

Warren continued to push the Biden administration over the student loan crisis; she and Schumer requested up to $ 50,000 in rebate per borrower.

She also recently suspended the appointment of James Kvaal, Biden’s choice for the third-highest post in the education ministry, in hopes of forcing reforms to the way the ministry handles student loans. (Politico first reported Warren’s move.)

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education played down the dispute.

“We have worked with the Senate offices and are encouraged by the conversations and developments around the appointment of James Kvaal,” the agency said. “We share the same goals to make the Federal Student Aid Office more user-friendly and an advocate for student borrowers, which is why we have taken several steps to achieve this goal, including providing nearly $ 3 billion in funding. targeted loan relief and bringing in Richard Cordray as COO.

The Education Department and the White House continue to examine whether Biden has the legal authority to unilaterally write off student loan debt, and whether that would be good policy. The president has publicly rejected blanket debt cancellation.


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