- GOP Sen. Joni Ernst said another extension of the student loan payment suspension would be “short-sighted.”
- She introduced a bill that would tell borrowers the estimated interest charges before going into debt.
- It comes as pressure mounts on Biden to provide additional relief before payments resume on May 1.
A Republican lawmaker doesn’t want student loan borrowers to get more relief — she wants them to understand the costs of a loan before they go into debt.
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley, introduced the Student Act last week, which would provide borrowers applying for student loans with an estimate of the total amount of interest they would pay based on a ten-year repayment plan. As pressure mounts for President Joe Biden to extend the pause on student loan payments, Ernst said his legislation should be considered instead.
“This is a short-sighted and unfair deal for the vast majority of Americans who have not incurred debt and will ultimately be stuck with the bill,” Ernst said. wrote on Twitter, referring to the potential for another payment pause extension. “Let’s make sure students have a clear picture of these costs before taking out a loan with my STUDENT Act instead of forcing others to pay it.”
Student loan payments have been suspended for the duration of the pandemic, and Biden has extended that relief three times, most recently through May 1. With that resumption date just over a month away, lawmakers and advocates are stepping up pressure for the president to deliver further relief, either in the form of a further extension of the suspension of payments or a broad debt cancellation.
But Republican lawmakers like Ernst have openly opposed giving federal borrowers an additional reprieve on their student debt. Two House Republicans recently introduced legislation to stop the education secretary from using his authority to extend the pandemic relief payment pause, and in January, the committee’s top Republican House Education Virginia Foxx called the broad student loan forgiveness “a huge mistake,” followed by all GOP members of the committee, later calling broad relief “reckless” and “myopic.” .
On the other side of the aisle, many Democratic lawmakers argued the opposite: Broad student loan relief would stimulate the economy and is a cost the government can afford. New York Rep. Mondaire Jones recently said the “economy hasn’t imploded” in the past two years, payments have been suspended, and experts have suggested that’s a good indication of what that could happen if additional relief were implemented.
With student loan repayments expected to resume in just over a month, borrowers are waiting to hear from Biden if more relief arrives. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain recently said that if Biden doesn’t extend the hiatus again, he’ll see what he can do on student debt via executive action — a path the lawmakers have advocated, but one that the president himself has been hesitant to pursue.