Biden Student Loans

A torrent of Congressional Democrats is calling on the White House to extend a soon-expiring pause on federal student loan payments, emboldened by their success in pressuring the Biden administration to approve a new eviction moratorium.

a group of people standing next to a person: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., heads to the Senate floor for a vote on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., heads to the Senate floor for a vote on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021 in Washington, DC.

The current student loan freeze temporarily spares many students from having to make their typical monthly payments and sets their interest rates at zero percent. The policy dates back to the earliest days of the pandemic, but it is set to conclude at the end of September — meaning students could see bills again starting October 1.


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Fearing some people with student loan debt still may be in dire financial straits, many liberal-leaning lawmakers in the House and Senate are urging President Biden to continue the deferral period. They point to the arrival of the new, highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus, as they make the case for additional protections into next year. Some of these Democrats are also calling for longer-term measures, including the full cancellation of their remaining debts.

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“Time is running out on the student-loan payment pause,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has long advocated for such relief, stressed on Wednesday. “The payment pause gives us a moment to focus on, the same way the eviction moratorium gave us a moment to focus on, what’s happening in this country.”

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has signaled it is at least considering another freeze on federal student loan payments. Without a final decision, however, lawmakers have ramped up their advocacy — hoping to ward off the same financial cliff that had threatened millions of renters until Tuesday.

With the eviction moratorium, the White House initially said it lacked the authority to reissue its policy, which expired at the end of July, citing an adverse court decision casting doubt on its constitutionality. The expiration of the eviction ban exposed renters who were behind on their bills to the prospect of losing their homes. But days of public and private pressure from Democrats led by Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) prompted the Biden administration to reverse course, restoring protections for many Americans facing financial hardship.

Speaking with reporters after the decision, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which helped lead the charge, heralded the move by the Biden administration as critical to keeping millions of Americans housed. In doing so, they also stressed students and graduates now need the same sort of help.

Last-minute eviction ban plan fuels confusion for some.

“We’ve been worrying about the fiscal cliff of these moratoria expiring,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the leader of the caucus, in an interview. She said she raised the issue with the White House as she discussed the fate of the eviction protections with top aides this past weekend.

“Don’t go to the last minute,” Jayapal warned. “These are matters of life and death for people.”

Video: Democrats raise concerns over student loan collections as payment restart looms (Yahoo! Finance)

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