Schumer, Warren and Pressley urge Biden to extend student loan payment hiatus and cancel student debt

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As the countdown for student borrowers to restart repayment approaches, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) met today for a press conference to call on President Biden to “grab a pen” and extend the student loan payment hiatus.

Currently, payments and interest on student loans held by the federal government are suspended until September 30, 2021. In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act and suspended payments and interest until September 30, 2020 House Democrats passed a bill in May that would have extended the suspension for one year, but Senate Republicans never considered the legislation.

Before the end of the suspension, President Trump extended the break twice, until January 2021. Then, on his first day in office, President Biden extended the break until September 30, 2021.

Warren, Pressley, Schumer and Rep Joe Courtney (D-CT) edited a letter in June who urged Biden to extend the payment break until at least March 31, 2022. They were joined by 19 other senators and 40 other members of the House of Representatives. Earlier this month, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), chairs of the respective committees that oversee education, urged Biden to extend the payment break until early 2022.

At the press conference, both Senator Schumer and Representative Pressley argued for the extension, as well as the cancellation of student debt, highlighting it as a matter of racial justice. Borrowers of color are heavily impacted by student debt. Because black students have less wealth, they are more likely to borrow to go to college. Data shows that black students borrow for a bachelor’s degree at a rate 17 percentage points higher than their white peers. Pressley told reporters that black borrowers are defaulting at a rate five times the rate of their white peers.

Pressley also spoke about the benefits to the economy of canceling student debt. The MP said it was a matter of economic justice and the cancellation could help stimulate the economy.

Senator Warren began her remarks by saying “tick tock, tick tock”, noting when payments are expected to resume. In her comments, she urged the president to extend the payment break to protect borrowers who may be struggling too hard to restart repayment.

Warren has also advocated for student debt cancellation, highlighting her plan to write off up to $ 50,000 for each borrower using executive power, she said the president has. Warren said this would write off the entire balance for about 36 million people, representing 86% of all borrowers.

Many worried about the resumption of payments, especially after such a long period without repayment. Earlier this month, Warren and Pressley, along with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), written to the Ministry of Education ask what steps it takes to protect borrowers when payments resume.

Later that day, Senator Warren has a hearing for the economic policy sub-committee of the banking, housing and urban affairs committee discuss how to protect student borrowers and the economy in future transitions.


Related readings:

Will the cancellation of student debt stimulate the economy?

How Pausing Student Loan Payments Can Help Forgive



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