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Tipsheet

Biden Declines to Extend Student Loan Relief and Progressives Are Not Happy About It

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Biden administration has declined to extend student loan relief, with payments kicking in again February 1, 2022—a move that has progressives pushing back. 

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In a letter to the president last week, more than 200 advocacy groups urged Biden “to put a stop [to] 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 letter added. 

Progressive lawmakers have also joined the calls. 

A group of U.S. senators — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — say that Biden must extend student loan relief to avoid financial disaster for more than 40 million student loan borrowers. The senators say that restarting student loan payments will cause significant financial stress in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, they cite a Roosevelt Institute study that shows that failure to postpone student loan payments beyond January 31, 2022 will cost student loan borrowers $85 billion. They argue that 9 million student loan borrowers in default could be subject to wage garnishment and other debt collection methods if student loan payments resume. In addition to seriously damaging the economy, the senators note that Black and Latinx households would face a disproportionate burden from resuming student loan payments.  (Forbes)

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Voters are also upset.

President Joe Biden won Melissa Andretta's vote in 2020 when he promised to fix the student-loan industry and cancel student debt. 

But Andretta's student-debt load, at $163,000, hasn't gone down since Biden took office, and she told Insider she felt "betrayed."

"I've been registered as a Democrat since I was of voting age," said Andretta, now 53. "But throughout this last year, I was an independent instead because I'm just so frustrated and disheartened. One of the main reasons why I was so in favor of Biden was because I really felt that he was going to help us with the student-loan problem." (Business Insider)

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The White House has appeared unfazed by the pleas, however, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters that a “smooth transition back into repayment is a high priority for the administration.”

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