One of President Joe Biden’s first moves in office was to direct the Department of Education to extend the suspension of federal student loan payments and interest until October 1 at the earliest.

After the economy shut down in response to the pandemic last March, Congress passed the coronavirus relief bill that suspended student loan payments and waived interest. The suspension was originally set to expire last September, but the Trump administration pushed it to January 31 this year.

Biden has made his plans to work on student debt clear in the past, and this postponement bodes well for his previous statements. Last March, he posted a tweet in response to the stimulus bill that recommended the Congress forgive a minimum of $10,000 per person in federal student loans.

Relieving Student Debt

Student debt cancellation was not a part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal that Biden unveiled last week, but a Biden aide revealed to reporters that the president will follow through with requesting that Congress cancel $10,000 of debt for borrowers. 

However, the amount and method taken by Biden is facing some pushback — The Debt Collective, a group of thousands of student debtors, has urged Biden to consider increasing the amount of forgiven debt, and top Democrats such as Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren have encouraged him to wield more of his executive power.

The two politicians argue how the relief would help millions of people cope with the pandemic, stimulate the economy, and bring the country a step forward in closing the racial wealth gap.

Biden may be hesitant to unilaterally wipe away debt and opt to have the move approved by Congress, as the decision may not have the support of more moderate members within the Democratic Party.