Will Biden listen to his party?
With the student loan pause set to end on May 1, 90 House and Senate Democrats have rallied together to urge President Joe Biden to extend the moratorium on federal student loans. Their proposal would see the student loan pause remaining until the end of the year.
The proposed extension — which lawmakers requested in a letter on Thursday — has the support of top Democrats in both chambers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
Other lawmakers have also thrown their weight behind the idea, with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) adding their signatures to the letter.
The letter echoed what other Democratic lawmakers have called for in recent days as the May 1 deadline is fast approaching. The letter also called for Biden to extend the federal student loan pause until “the end of the year” and urged the President to “cancel student debt now.”
Substantiating the reason behind the call for broader debt cancellation, the group of lawmakers noted that it would be “one of the most powerful ways to address racial and economic equity issues.”
The letter cited the challenges Black and Latino students face, stating that the “student loan system mirrors many of the inequalities that plague American society and widens the racial wealth gap.”
The lawmakers noted that “Black students… borrow more to attend college, borrow more often while they are in school, and have a harder time paying their debt off than their white peers.”
They added that Black students were also “three times as likely to go into default within four years of their federal loans as white borrowers.”
When pointing to the challenges Latino borrowers face, the letter acknowledged that although Latino borrowers “often have lower loan balances than their white peers, they are more likely to struggle in repaying their loans, and have some of the lowest post-education earnings among all racial or ethnic groups.”
The letter also mentioned other burdens borrowers face, highlighting that “skyrocketing costs for necessities like food and gas” could “destabilize many borrowers and their families” if student loan repayment restarts.