With payments suspended, student loan debt forgiveness ‘still on the table’ for Biden administration

Cancellation of student loan debt through executive action is ‘still on the table’, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said after the Biden administration again delayed the restart of federal student loan repayments at the beginning of the month.

The White House has faced constant questions about what the administration will do about the student loan debt crisis since the president took office more than a year ago. PSAKI made the remarks during an interview with the Pod Save America podcast in Washington, D.C.

the The White House announced last week extended the pause on federal student loans until August 31. That pause, which has been in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was due to expire on May 1, but had already been pushed back several times under the Trump and then Biden administrations.

“So by August 31, either it’s going to be extended or we’re going to make a decision, as Ron mentioned, on canceling student debt,” Psaki said, acknowledging the leader’s earlier remarks. White House cabinet minister Ron Klain, who said in early April that the administration would make a decision before the previous May 1 deadline or extend the pause as well.

PSAKI said the president’s preference remains for Congress to take action to address student loan debt because it’s more permanent. President Biden has called for legislative action to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt, but action on student loan debt has seen no movement in the tightly divided Congress.

Meanwhile, some Democratic lawmakers are calling on the president to forgive $50,000 in student loan debt, arguing Biden has the power to do so immediately.

More than 43 million borrowers now have more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt, according to the Department of Education. The average federal student loan debt balance is over $37,000. Throughout the pandemic, most borrowers have not had to make any payments for their loans. And interest on federal loan balances was set at 0%.

While most borrowers remain uncertain about whether the administration will cancel student loan debt, the Biden administration has taken some steps to cancel some student loan debt, including for borrowers who have been defrauded. by their schools, the debt held by those with permanent disabilities and by changes to the civil service loan forgiveness program. More than $17 billion in student loan debt has been forgiven since the president took office.

“From day one, the president has been focused on protecting our borrowers and putting them first in the conversations and decisions we make,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told CBS News on Tuesday.

In announcing that the student loan payment pause would be extended until the end of August, the Department of Education also announced that it would give borrowers who were previously behind on student loan payments or in default a ” new start”. Although it remains to be seen exactly what the move will look like, Cardona said it will allow borrowers to get back on their feet and ensure there is no mark on their credit score when they start. to repay their loans.

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