The White House intends to extend the pause on student loan payments through June 30, 2023, President Joe Biden said Tuesday. The move comes as the president’s plan for wider student loan debt forgiveness remains tied up in the courts.
The pause had been scheduled to end Dec. 31, 2022, but it was supposed to be accompanied by mass debt relief.
In a video message posted on Twitter, Biden defended the plan and said the extension of the moratorium was a way to address the ongoing legal challenges. “I’m confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it’s on hold because Republican officials want to block it,” he said.
Payments will resume 60 days after the end of the pause, Biden said.
In the video message Biden slammed “Republican special interests” that have successfully sued to halt his administration’s student debt cancellation program. The administration appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s injunction that ruled the debt forgiveness plan can not go forward.
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“It isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the court considers a lawsuit,” Biden said. “I’m never going to apologize for helping working-class and middle-class families recover from the economic crisis created by the pandemic.”
Roughly 26 million people have applied for the student loan debt relief, and borrowers over the weekend received notices from the Education Department telling them their loans would be canceled if and when the litigation was resolved.
The moratorium was first enacted under former President Donald Trump in March 2020. In addition to the waived payments, interest rates for federal student loans have been set at zero percent and loan servicers have stopped attempting to collect overdue debts.
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