- The chairmen of the House and Senate education committees have urged Biden to extend the student loan payment hiatus.
- They said borrowers did not have the information they needed to resume payments in October and that this is expected to last until early 2022.
- This follows 64 Democrats and 128 organizations calling for an extension until next year.
Democrats and advocacy organizations have called on President Joe Biden to extend the student loan payment hiatus beyond its September expiration to ensure borrowers are not unduly coerced into repayments. Two leading Democrats have just joined the fight.
Patty Murray and Bobby Scott, chairmen of the Senate and House Education Committees respectively, sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday urging him to extend the payment break until early 2022.
Before borrowers have to restart payments, they wrote, the government needs to make sure borrowers have the information they need to navigate the transition, but they do not yet have that information.
“Millions of Americans have been relocated or relocated during the pandemic, but the previous administration chose not to ensure officers maintain contact with the vast majority of borrowers,” lawmakers wrote. “As a result, the ministry and departments likely have outdated contact information for many borrowers, which can prevent those borrowers from receiving the help they need, creating devastating consequences for those who need it most. “
—Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) June 30, 2021
Murray and Scott wrote that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has the power to extend the payment break under the HEROES Act of 2003 – an authority that has been exercised by both the Trump and Biden administrations.
They added that in the event of an extension, the Ministry of Education should use this extra time to pursue several forms of borrower outreach, including coordinating with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to “develop approaches based on evidence that successfully reaches borrowers “.
This is only the last call for an extension of the payment break. On June 21, 64 Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, urged Biden in a letter to extend the payment hiatus until March 31, 2022, or until the economy to return to pre-pandemic employment levels, as appropriate. is longer.
A few days later, 128 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), sent a letter to the president, urging him to extend the payment break until the he administration has kept its promises to fix the student loan system and cancel federal student debt.
Cardona alluded to the possibility of extending the payment break, first in May when he said extending the payment break was “not out of the question”, and more recently last month, when ‘he told the Senate Appropriations Committee that talks about the extension are underway.
The department has yet to provide further details on an extension, and lawmakers remain adamant borrowers are not ready to resume payments in October.
“Extending the break on student loan payments, interest and collections is a critical step in ensuring that the ministry can provide borrowers with an efficient return to repayment,” wrote Murray and Scott. “We urge you to move forward with this request as soon as possible.”
Do you have a story on student debt cancellation? Contact Ayelet Sheffey at [email protected]