After a White House official confirmed this week that President Joe Biden is considering further extending a pandemic-related pause on student loan payments, lawmakers and activists renewed calls for debt cancellation.\r\n\r\n\u0022We have reached a student debt crisis of epic proportions.\u0022\r\n\r\nWhile payments are due to resume on May 1, White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain suggested on a popular podcast that the president may extend the pause and is still sorting out whether he will take further action on the student debt crisis.\r\n\r\n\u0022This is a GOOD idea!\u0022 the group Bold Progressives tweeted with a video of Klain on \u0022Pod Save America.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a key advocate of student debt cancellation in Congress, agreed, also tweeting Klain\u0026#039;s comments.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn response to HuffPost\u0026#039;s reporting on Klain\u0026#039;s remarks, Congresswoman Marie Newman (D-Ill.) said Saturday that \u0022pausing student loan payments during Covid has allowed Americans to get by.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We need immediate student debt relief, and deferring payments again is a great step, but we need to do more,\u0022 she added.\r\n\r\nNoting that \u0022education is a pathway to greater opportunity and economic security, yet many Americans simply can\u0026#039;t afford it or become crushed by student loans,\u0022 Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told Biden on Saturday that \u0022we must cancel student debt.\u0022\r\n\r\nRep. Jesús \u0022Chuy\u0022 García (D-Ill.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) also pressured the president to take action on the issue Saturday:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPressley and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who have been leading the fight in Congress with Schumer, participated in a Friday roundtable about how student loan debt impacts Black communities, particularly business owners, entrepreneurs, and other professionals.\r\n\r\nAdvocates of debt cancellation often argue that it is necessary to help address the racial wealth gap in the United States.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAlso on Friday, the Debt Collective announced a nationally coordinated refusal to make payments if Biden refuses to step in before they resume in May.\r\n\r\n\u0022If President Biden resumes illegitimate student debt payments in May, we will facilitate as many student debtors as possible to safely pay $0 a month to the Department of Education,\u0022 declared Debt Collective co-founder Astra Taylor.\r\n\r\n\u0022Whether it\u0026#039;s filing a borrower defense or enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan, we are politicizing our refusal to pay as part of our escalation on President Biden,\u0022 Taylor said. \u0022He has the authority to cancel all federal student debt with the flick of a pen. He can end this manufactured crisis today.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDebt Collective spokesperson Braxton Brewington emphasized that \u0022we want to be clear—a student debt strike is not intentionally defaulting on your loans, but politicizing and collectivizing your refusal to pay by using the tools the Department of Education already provides to student borrowers.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The Debt Collective\u0026#039;s Student Debt Strike is an important campaign to help build the mass movement we need to resist and abolish student debt.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The federal government doesn\u0026#039;t need our student debt payments to function, and the last two years have proved that,\u0022 Brewington added, \u0022but they do need our cooperation—and they certainly won\u0026#039;t have that.\u0022\r\n\r\nCongresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) expressed support for the planned strike, noting that \u0022the road to student debt cancellation is long and hard, and a key aspect is building solidarity amongst students and graduates with debt.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The Debt Collective\u0026#039;s Student Debt Strike is an important campaign to help build the mass movement we need to resist and abolish student debt, and there are so many ways to support it without putting yourself in financial jeopardy,\u0022 she said. \u0022I stand with Student Debt Strikers and encourage everyone—whether you have debt or not—to join us.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs Common Dreams reported last month, polling shows student debt cancellation is popular with the American public, even among people who don\u0026#039;t have higher education loans to repay.