Hundreds of left-leaning organizations — including the ACLU, the American Federation of Teachers, and the NAACP — have called on President Joe Biden to lengthen the pause on federal student loan repayments.
In March 2020, the CARES Act temporarily paused student debt repayments and pegged the federal student loan interest rate at 0% — a policy extended by both President Donald Trump and Biden.
Though the suspension is due to expire on January 31, a group of more than 200 progressive organizations have asked Biden to once again extend the pause — and eventually cancel the debt altogether:
In fewer than 60 days, tens of millions of student loan borrowers are slated to be thrown back into repayment on federal student loans they are ill-equipped to pay as the deadly COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate Americans’ health and financial security. We, the undersigned 207 organizations, write to urge you to put a stop this crisis in the making before it begins and extend the current pause on student loan payments. It is clear that payments should not resume until your administration has fully delivered on the promises you made to student loan borrowers to fix the broken student loan system and cancel federal student debt.
The groups invoked Biden’s own campaign platform in their argument:
You ran for president on the promise that you would reform the student loan system to ensure that student loan payments would be affordable for all. Your administration’s decision to extend the payment pause, alongside the Department’s recent overhaul of the programs for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Total and Permanent Disability Discharge are critical and welcome first steps. Right now, your administration has the opportunity to continue repairing the damage caused by policy failures at the federal and state level and decades of government mismanagement and industry abuses — an opportunity and an obligation that must be fulfilled before any action is taken to resume monthly student loan payments.
It is critical that your administration continue to deliver on your promises made to student loan borrowers and their families before ending the pause in payments and collections. Borrowers need immediate relief from the crushing burdens of massive student loan debt as the pandemic exacerbates financial strain for all Americans and throws existing racial disparities in wealth and educational attainment into especially stark relief.
Among the signatories were the American Association of University Professors, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Psychological Association, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, and the NAACP.
Daily Wire commentator and bestselling children’s author Matt Walsh recently noted that student debt forgiveness — an argument often forwarded by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and her progressive colleagues — is no more than “welfare” for the affluent.
“I worked full time, Monday through Friday, and took weekend classes to get my law degree,” Tlaib said on the House floor earlier this week. “And still, close to $200,000 in debt. And I still owe over $70,000 and most of it was interest.”
“She’s a perfect example of why we shouldn’t forgive student loans,” Walsh responded. “She makes $175,000 a year and wants the tax payer to assume her debts? No, pay your bills you deadbeat. Student loan forgiveness is upper class welfare.”
“Half of all student debt is held by people with graduate degrees,” he continued. “The idea that this is some kind of persecuted class of people who deserve tax funded debt forgiveness is absurd.”