Biden Is Waiting Until The Last Minute On Student Loan Pause

( People who owe federal student debt around the country are anxiously awaiting a decision from President Joe Biden.

The president is certainly taking his gold old time making a decision on whether to extend the “pause” on federal student loan repayments that has been in place since close to the start of the pandemic in 2020. The current deadline by which that pause will expire is September 1, and Biden still hasn’t publicly announced what will happen yet.

Officials at the White House have said that they expect the president to do one of two things. Either he’ll cancel student loan debt of up to $10,000 for borrowers — moving that debt over to the balance book for taxpayers — or he’ll extend the pause on repayments beyond the November midterm elections.

However, thus far, Biden hasn’t taken either of those actions, even though there are only two weeks before September 1.

Earlier this month, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, responded to a question from a reporter on the topic by saying:

“The president spoke to this when he was asked, I think about two weeks ago, about the student loan and his decision. He said by the end of August. So, we’re still kind of at the beginning, getting into the middle of August. So, when he’s ready to make that decision, we will let you know.”

The silence surrounding any action at all apparently means the president hasn’t made up his mind yet.

Federal student loan repayments were put on pause for the first time in March of 2020 by former President Donald Trump. The former president then extended that pause two more times before he left the White House.

Since taking over as president, Biden has extended the pause four addition times, and that’s the route that most people believe he will take again. He’s expected to move the deadline passed the midterm elections, in part so that it doesn’t become a major issue at the polls for voters.

In the past, Biden hasn’t butted up against the deadline to make a move like he is now. He gave borrowers roughly three-weeks’ notice in the spring when he announced on April 5 that he would be extending the pause that was set to expire on May 1.

It’s possible that this extra delay in a decision is because Biden is actually considering cancelling student loan debt instead of just extending the pause on repayments, as he promised to do while on the campaign trail.

In April, Jen Psaki, who was then serving as the White House press secretary, teased an upcoming announcement by Biden on cancelling some federal student loan debt. At the time, she said:

“Between now and August 31, [the freeze on payments] is either going to be extended or we’re going to make a decision, as [White House chief of staff] Ron [Klain] referenced, about canceling student loan debt.”

While Biden has referenced $10,000 per borrower as the total he’d like to see, many more progressive members of his party have called for sums of $50,000 — or even more.