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Schumer, Warren, Pressley Urge Biden To Extend Student Loan Payment Pause

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at July 27, 2021

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

Currently, payments and interest on federally-held student loans are have been suspended through September 30, 2021. In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act and suspended both payments and interest through September 30, 2020. House Democrats passed a bill in May that would have extended the suspension for another year but Senate Republicans never considered the legislation.

Before the suspension ended, then-President Trump extended the pause twice, eventually through January 2021. Then on his first day in office, President Biden extended the pause through September 30, 2021.

Warren, Pressley, Schumer, and Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) led a letter in June that urged Biden to extend the payment pause 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 pause until early 2022.

At the press conference, Senator Schumer and Representative Pressley both made the case for the extension, as well as student debt cancellation, highlighting it as a racial justice issue. Borrowers of color are impacted significantly by student debt. Because Black students have less wealth, they are more likely to borrow to attend college. Data show 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 default at a rate five times higher than their white peers.

Pressley also talked about the benefits to the economy from cancelling student debt. The Congresswoman said it was an economic justice issue and that cancellation could help to stimulate the economy.

Senator Warren started her remarks saying, “tick tock, tick tock” noting how soon payments are set to resume. In her comments, she urged the president to extend the payment pause to protect borrowers who might be struggling too much for when repayment restarts.

Warren also made the pitch for student debt cancellation, highlighting her plan to cancel up to $50,000 for each borrower using executive authority she says the president has. Warren said that would cancel the entire balance for approximately 36 million people, accounting for 86 percent of all borrowers.

Many have been worried about the restarting of payments, especially after such a long time of being out of repayment. Earlier this month Warren and Pressley, along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), wrote to the Department of Education asking what steps it is taking to protector borrowers when payments resume.

Later today, Senator Warren is having a hearing for the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy discussing how to protect student borrowers and the economy in upcoming transitions.

Related Readings:

Will Student Debt Cancellation Stimulate the Economy?

How The Student Loan Payment Pause Can Help Provide Forgiveness


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