White House not budging on Feb. 1 end to student loans forgiveness

Washington DC: The White House seems determined that Federal student loan payments will resume February 1 as President Joe Biden lifts the nearly two-year pandemic-era pause despite pressure from many in his own party to extend it.

As for the Department of Education’s review of whether Biden has the authority to unilaterally cancel at least $10,000 of student debt per borrower — which Biden campaigned on — administration officials said that conversations are still happening and no final determination has been made. An official did say that Biden is still ready to sign a $10,000 student loan forgiveness bill into law if Congress can pass it.

One administration official said to expect announcements “in the coming weeks and months” on what resources will be available so that borrowers who have already been struggling through the pandemic can hop on the right payment plan, including deferment.

Behind the scenes, the political reality has led the Biden administration to conduct Zoom meetings with allies in the student loan forgiveness space in an effort to make the resumption of loan repayments as smooth as possible. But despite their no-drama intent, the confabs have not always been smooth sailing.

Loan forgiveness advocates relayed to members of Biden’s domestic policy and economic teams that beyond the actual economic, legal, and policy implications of lifting the loan repayment pause, the move was “bad politically.”

The White House declined to comment on the record about the meeting, but administration officials again insisted that the loan repayment pause was always meant to be temporary, and pointed to actions the administration has already taken in this realm — including forgiving “$12.7 billion in student loan debt.”

Image courtesy of (Photo Courtesy: Action News 5)

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