President Joe Biden is expected to announce this week that he’s once again extending the moratorium on federal student loan payments through Aug. 31, sources told multiple outlets Tuesday.
The current pause on those payments and interest accrual is set to expire on May 1. If Biden does extend the moratorium, it would be the fifth time the White House has extended it since March 2020, when former President Donald Trump enacted the policy as the COVID-19 pandemic upended many Americans’ livelihoods.
People familiar with the matter confirmed the decision to Bloomberg, Politico, The Hill and The Associated Press. The White House did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment on Tuesday, but chief of staff Ron Klain confirmed last month that Biden was considering prolonging the moratorium.
The reported extension would benefit tens of millions of borrowers. Democrats in Congress have cited how inflation and high gas prices have already impacted people’s budgets.
“Borrowers are struggling with rising costs, struggling to get their feet back under them after public health and economic crises, and struggling with a broken student loan system — and all this is felt especially hard by borrowers of color,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said last month.
She and other Democrats say the entire student loan system needs overhauling, and they’ve pressed Biden to make good on his campaign promises to forgive some of the borrowers’ debts ― something they say could jumpstart the economy.
Republicans have pushed back on the extensions, with GOP lawmakers on the House Committee on Education and Labor calling an extended moratorium a “cowardly act of political appeasement” that is “unfair to the millions of taxpayers who never went to college.”
With Congress divided on the issue, Democrats have pushed Biden to use his executive authority to forgive some of borrowers’ debts, but he appears opposed to that approach.
“If Congress sends him a bill, he’s happy to sign it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in December. “They haven’t sent him a bill on that yet.”