Pres. Biden says “no” to the progressives’ request to extend the federal student loan pause

The so-called progressives have been urging President Joe Biden to extend the pause on federal student loan repayment. But, Biden just told them “no.”

The White House confirmed last Friday that federal student loan repayment will resume as scheduled on February 1st. 

Background

On December 8th, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) wrote a letter to Biden asking him, among other things, to extend the pause placed on the repayment of federal student loans.

“In order to prevent the student debt crisis from dragging down on our economic recovery, undermining the effectiveness of the American Rescue Plan, and causing unnecessary pain and stress for American families, we strongly urge you to extend the pause on student loan payments and interest and act to cancel student debt,” they wrote.

That final request – “to cancel student debt” – is something that these three congress members have been trying to force Biden to do for months now. They want him to forgive up to $50,000 from each federal student loan using his executive authority. But, Biden has refused.

In their letter, the three congress members went on to cite a study that would seem to support extending the pause on federal student loan repayment. The study, among other things, claims that almost 90 percent of federal student loan borrowers aren’t prepared to resume payments.

They concluded:

We strongly urge you to extend the pause on student loan payments, interest, and collections until the economy reaches pre-pandemic employment levels.

Biden responds

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether Biden will extend the federal student loan pause. She made it clear that he will not.

“We will engage directly with federal student loan borrowers to ensure they have the resources they need and are in the appropriate repayment plan,” Psaki said. “We’re still assessing the impact of the omicron variant. But a smooth transition back into repayment is a high priority for the administration. The Department of Education is already communicating with borrowers to help them to help to prepare for return to repayment on February 1.”

Psaki went on to focus on the benefit that was already provided to federal student loan borrowers during the pause.

Forbes reports Psaki as noting that “Biden has canceled $12.5 billion of student loan debt for approximately 640,000 student loan borrowers” during that pause. But, she made it clear that the pause will not be extended and that the sort of loan cancellation requested by Schumer, Warren, and Pressley will not come from Biden.

This is one issue that Biden is not giving in to the progressives on. Given his willingness to push just about every other aspect of the progressive agenda, it is worth asking “why?”

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