Congrats to President Biden for taking a hint!
Just weeks after reaffirming it would not continue the moratorium on student loan payments that’s helped keep households solvent throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden White House abruptly backtracked Wednesday, announcing the pause would now last through this coming May.
“We know that millions of student loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payment,” Biden said in a statement. He did add, however, that “I’m asking all student loan borrowers to do their part as well: Take full advantage of the Department of Education’s resources to help you prepare for payments to resume.”
The administration’s unsubtle effort to tamp down on the unbridled enthusiasm of the millions who have been granted an extended reprieve from crippling loan payments was greeted with an equally restrained welcome by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who quickly responded with a joint statement praising Biden for “[heeding] our call to extend the pause on student loan payments.”
But, the trio continued, “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.” Biden had made canceling $10,000 per person in student loan debt a campaign promise during the 2020 election, but has thus far failed to deliver on that pledge.
The decision to extend the loan payment moratorium comes just one day after the White House publicly backtracked on its initial refusal to make rapid COVID tests available to the public for free. Like the administration’s decision to ultimately purchase half a billion tests for those who want them, the extended loan pause came after intense and ongoing pressure from advocates and activists furious at a White House seemingly indifferent to the very real, relatively simple solution to a major crisis that was within its grasp.