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#CancelStudentDebt

Activists accompanied by the Too Much Talent Band demonstrate for the cancellation of student debt near the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 13, 2022. (Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We, The 45 Million)

With Payments Resuming Soon, Dems Tell Biden to 'Cancel Student Debt Now'

"Student debt cancellation must be one of the key actions in your comprehensive approach to advance equity as our nation works to rebuild a stronger and more equitable economy."

Brett Wilkins

Nearly 100 congressional Democrats on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to extend a pause on federal student loan repayments through at least the rest of the year, while calling on him to ultimately "provide meaningful student debt cancellation" for millions of indebted Americans.

"Your administration must act as quickly as possible to extend the pause and make clear to the American public your intention to cancel a meaningful amount of student debt."

"The payment pause has been a significant federal investment throughout the pandemic, providing essential relief to millions of families during the economic and public health crisis, and saving them an average of $393 per month," the bicameral lawmakers wrote in a letter to the president, adding that most borrowers "are not financially prepared to shoulder another bill as they face skyrocketing costs for necessities like food and gas."

The letter urging Biden to "cancel student debt now" was led by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.); Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and James Clyburn (D-S.C.); with more than 80 other congressional Democrats as signatories.

Noting that "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," and that "they are more than three times as likely to go into default within four years on their federal loans as white borrowers," the letter asserts that "canceling student debt is one of the most powerful ways to address racial and economic equity issues."

"The student loan system mirrors many of the inequalities that plague American society and widens the racial wealth gap," the legislators state in their letter. "Student debt cancellation must be one of the key actions in your comprehensive approach to advance equity as our nation works to rebuild a stronger and more equitable economy."

While campaigning for president, Biden promised, "I'm going to eliminate your student debt if you come from a family [making less] than $125,000 and went to a public university."

Biden also vowed he was "going to make sure everyone gets $10,000 knocked off of their student debt" in response to pandemic-related economic hardship.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 U.S. college and university professors sent a letter to Biden imploring him to cancel all outstanding federal student loan debt via executive action.

Student loan payments and interest on federally held debt have been suspended since March 2020 during the Trump administration. Biden extended the pause last December. As many as 45 million student debtors have benefited from the suspension, which according to the New York Federal Reserve has seen an estimated $195 billion in payments waived through April.

The current pause is set to expire May 1.

"Given the fast-approaching deadline for borrowers to resume payments, your administration must act as quickly as possible to extend the pause and make clear to the American public your intention to cancel a meaningful amount of student debt," the lawmakers stress. "We look forward to supporting your administration in getting it done."


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