On Wednesday, the Biden Administration announced that they will be extending the Department of Education’s pause on student loan payments until May 1, 2022. This news follows a round of criticism the administration has received from activists and progressive organizations who were urging the administration to extend the moratorium, which was originally scheduled to end on January 31.
The administration’s decision to extend the pause comes as the Omicron variant rips through the country. Texas public health experts are warning that the new variant could account for as much as 92% of COVID-19 cases in the state.
Public Citizen and the Working Families Party, two progressive organizations that have been on the front lines of the student debt crisis, welcomed this news from the Biden Administration. They’re urging people to keep up the pressure on the administration, citing this decision as evidence that the pressure is working.
Progressive lawmakers praised President Biden for his decision to extend the moratorium on payments. “I applaud President Biden for once again pausing federal student loan payments for 45 million Americans,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders. “Now let’s cancel it. All of it.”
Other progressive lawmakers also celebrated organizers for taking action. Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted out her praise of the both the administration and activists who she credits with making this possible.
This pause on student loan payments is no-doubt a huge win for those struggling with student loan debt. The latest estimates show that student debt has risen to over $1.7 trillion, an amount unheard of in the developed world. Student debt is also unique from other forms of debt, since it cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.
As a Senator, Joe Biden was instrumental in passing legislation that fundamentally changed bankruptcy laws. Progressives argue now is the time for President Biden to right this wrong and cancel student debt entirely.