WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), released a statement on the Biden Administration’s extension of the student loan payment pause:
“Last week, we led nearly 100 Members of Congress in urging the President to extend the pause on student loan payments. Today, President Biden heeded our calls and delivered critical relief to millions of Americans. Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, no American has had to pay a dime on their federally-held student debt, and more than 700,000 borrowers have had over $16 billion in student debt cancelled. While the extension is welcome, a looming restart of student loan payments in September underscores the importance of swift executive action on meaningful student debt cancellation. We continue to implore the President to use his clear legal authority to cancel student debt, which will help narrow the racial wealth gap, boost our economic recovery, and demonstrate that this government is fighting for the people.”
Last week, the lawmakers led nearly 100 colleagues on a letter urging President Biden to extend the pause on federally-held student loan payments until at least the end of the year and to provide meaningful student debt cancellation.
In December, Rep. Pressley, Sen. Warren and Majority Leader Schumer applauded the Biden Administration’s extension of the student loan payment pause and reiterated their calls for him to cancel $50,000 in federal student debt by executive action. Pressley, Warren and Schumer had previously written to President Biden releasing new data about the adverse economic impact of restarting student loan payments and calling on him to act without delay to cancel up to $50,000 of student debt.
Rep. Pressley, Senator Warren, and Majority Leader Schumer have consistently called on President Biden to cancel student debt. Earlier this year, they led their colleagues in reintroducing their bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for Federal student loan borrowers.
Earlier this month, Rep. Pressley and Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at Color of Change, published an op-ed in The Grio in which they called on President Biden to use his executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower, a move that would provide relief to millions of borrowers, particularly Black women, who are the most educated group in the country and are disproportionately burdened by student loan debt.
In July, Rep. Pressley, Sen. Warren and Majority Leader Schumer led their colleagues on a bicameral letter to President Biden calling on him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments until at least March 31, 2022, and applauded his decision in August to extend the payment pause through January.
On April 13, Rep. Pressley testified at a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing to examine the student loan debt crisis in our country. In her testimony, Rep. Pressley discussed the racial and economic implications of canceling student debt, as well as her own experience with the student loan system. Full video and transcript of her testimony is available here.
On April 1, Rep. Pressley, Senator Warren, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey held a press conference at which they called on President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for Federal student loan borrowers.
Congresswoman Pressley has been leading the fight for broad based student debt cancellation. Reps. Pressley, Alma Adams, and Ilhan Omar have repeatedly led their colleagues in calling on House leadership to take urgent action to combat the student debt crisis by including student debt cancellation in any COVID relief package. In March, Pressley and Omar introduced the Student Debt Emergency Relief Act, legislation to cancel student loan debt and shield borrowers from any involuntary payments and garnishment during the COVID-19 crisis.