Student loan borrowers might get another few months to breathe. According to a report from the Associated Press, the Biden administration is expected to extend the repayment pause until August 31.
Currently, repayment of federal student loans has been paused since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And surprisingly, the world has not fallen apart.
Former President Trump got something right when he paused loan repayment and later extended the pause. When President Biden took office last year, he, in turn, extended the pause.
Coming just one day after The Debt Collective led a day of action urging the president to cancel student debt, an extension of the pause is nice, but some say it’s not enough. The Debt Collective demanded Biden “pick up the pen” and wipe out all student loan debt in an action Monday.
The Debt Collective and supporters gathered in front of the U.S. Department of Education calling for a Student Debt Jubilee and cancellation of all debt.
Last week Democrats in both the House and Senate urged the president to extend the repayment pause through the end of the year while he considered options for canceling at least a portion of outstanding student loan debt. Rep. Jamaal Bowman tweeted that it wasn’t enough to pause student debt, but the president should cancel it.
“@StrikeDebt and many Dems have called for student debt cancellation for over two years now,” Bowman tweeted. “Student loans have been paused since 2020, and our economy hasn’t collapsed. The cost of living goes up while wages stagnate. Don’t just delay payments @POTUS, cancel student debt.”
While it may seem like the president is just kicking the can down the road, there could be a strategic reason for the delay. Extending the repayment pause through the end of August, with the possibility of cancellation later still on the table, could be a move for midterm elections later this year. People heading to the polls in late October/early November might be more likely to remember the president clearing out loans.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Congressional Democrats have been pushing for the administration to cancel student loans. While there are different approaches, Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues to push for canceling $50,000 of federal student loan debt. She also co-introduced legislation with Rep. Jim Clyburn in 2019 but maintains the president can take executive action.
Some may wonder why student debt cancelation and not voting rights. But proponents of debt cancelation argue that the president could simply pick up his pen and do something that will benefit more than 40 million student debt holders without dealing with partisan fighting.
“Stop kicking the can down the road. Stop extending the pause. Just cancel all student debt,” an organizer said in a video captured by D.C. based justice reporter Chuck Modiano.