Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) asked President Biden to “swiftly” extend the federal pause on student loan payments.
According to their letter, the three lawmakers — joined by 61 of their colleagues — want to continue the Department of Education’s pause on student loan repayments until next spring:
The suspension of payments and interest during the pandemic has provided essential relief to borrowers and their families during this economic and public health crisis. Restarting payments, however, will present a significant challenge for borrowers, loan servicers, and the Department of Education (ED), and we urge you not to let the payment pause lapse when borrowers are still depending on this financial relief… Specifically, we ask that you extend the pause by at least six months — until March 31, 2022 — or until the economy reaches pre-pandemic employment levels, whichever is longer.
The Democrats argued that the President’s move was especially necessary because the recession harmed ethnic minorities and women:
Even as the economic recovery picks up steam, it is not reaching all Americans equally. Women and people of color have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic, which some experts have deemed “the most unequal recession in modern U.S. history,” and they have recovered at a slower rate. The same groups make up a disproportionate share of student borrowers. Black students, in particular, borrow more to attend college, borrow more often while they are in school, and have a harder time paying their debt off than their white peers. The median Black borrower still owes 95% of their debt twenty years after starting college, compared to only 6% for the median white borrower.
Among other lawmakers signing the letter were Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
During her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Warren faced heat after she dismissed the concerns of a voter who disagreed with her student loan forgiveness proposals.
“I just wanted to ask one question,” the Iowa father said to Warren. “My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money. She doesn’t have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?” Warren replied, “Of course not.”
President Biden recently drew ire from leftists after he dropped student loan forgiveness — a promise that he made on the campaign trail — from his first budget proposal. Three months earlier, he announced that he would not attempt to use executive powers to forgive debtors of $50,000 each.
“The case against student loan forgiveness is looking shakier by the day,” Ocasio-Cortez remarked on social media after the President’s comments. “We’ve got the *Senate Majority Leader* on board to forgive $50k. Biden’s holding back, but many of the arguments against it just don’t hold water on close inspection. We can and should do it. Keep pushing!”