After the Biden administration announcedOn Wednesday, the federal student loans payment pause was extended. Progressive lawmakers urged the president to cancel student debt.
Senators and debt advocates have been pressing Joe Biden for his campaign promise of cancelling up to $10,000 of student loan debt per borrower. Others have urged him to forgive all student loans. These calls were amplified after the administration announced that it would be extending the payment freeze for another 90 days, until May 1 – a decision that debt cancellation advocates say was largely influenced by public pressure.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), applauded Wednesday’s extension. “I applaud President Biden for once again pausing federal student loan payments for 45 million Americans,” he said. “Now let’s cancel it. All of it.”
The Vermont senator has long advocated forHe proposed the cancellation and inclusion of federal student debt in his 2020 platform. Sanders’s stance is more radical than that of other debt cancellation advocates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), who have urged Biden to cancel Up to $50,000 in debt.
This would remove all debts. a vast majority of borrowers, it would still leave many borrowers – often those with the most dire need for cancellation – with a large burden to bear. Roughly 6 percentA majority of borrowers owe $100,000 on student loans. Therefore, a plan that cancels $50,000 would still leave millions of borrowers struggling to pay off their debt.
But either proposal would be more impactful than Biden’s promise to cancel up to $10,000 in debt per borrower – and also more impactful than cancelling no debt, which is what Biden has done so far.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), also celebrated the extension. “Thank you!” she wrote. “Next step: cancellation.”
“This is what happens when we all come together to raise our voices,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri) said, praising debt supporters for continuing to put pressure on Biden. “Extending the student loan payment pause is a HUGE step forward that will help people get through this pandemic. Now let’s keep pushing until [Biden] cancels student loan debt.”
Warren, Schumer, Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Ayanna Schumer have been leading an ongoing effort for Biden to forgive loan debt forgiveness. issued a joint statement on the Biden administration’s decision. “Extending the pause will help millions of Americans make ends meet, especially as we overcome the Omicron variant,” they said. “We continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in student debt, which will help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate our economic recovery.”
The data shows that student loan crises have had a disproportionate impact on Black borrowers and non-white borrowers. Brookings Institute found that the average white graduate owes $28,006 in student loans four years after graduation, while the average Black borrower owes $52,726 – nearly double that of white graduates. A debt cancellation program could close the racial wealth disparity. Recent report from Roosevelt InstituteIt was found that Black Americans could increase their wealth by up to 40% by cancelling loans up to $50,000 each.
It is particularly urgent to provide financial assistance in debt cancellation as many families are in danger of losing their safety net in the face of another pandemic. The child tax credit program – which was expanded as part of the COVID stimulus packages – was Important in reducing child povertyThis year. However, the last payment of this program was sent out by Senator Joe Manchin (D–West Virginia). His staunch oppositionAs the program ends, poverty rates could rise again.
Advocates claim this makes debt cancellation more urgent as it could help boost the wealth and prosperity of lower- and mid-income families as COVID continues ravaging the economy. “The administration must now deliver on the President’s promise to cancel student debt, and lower costs for families at a time of tremendous health and economic uncertainty,” wrote the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We need to continue our economic recovery and quest for racial justice.”