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July 28, 2022

Pressley, Warren, Schumer, Menendez, Booker, Underwood, Cárdenas Lead 100 Colleagues in Urging Biden Administration to Extend Student Loan Payment Pause

Pressley Continues to Urge President Biden to Cancel Student Debt

“Resuming student loan payments would force millions of borrowers to choose between paying their loans or putting a roof over their heads, food on the table, or paying for childcare and health care”

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – With the federal student loan payment pause set to expire at the end of next month, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.-14), and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29), today led a bicameral group of 100 colleagues in the House and Senate in urging the Biden Administration to extend the student loan payment pause beyond August 31, 2022. This effort comes on the heels of several news reports that the Biden Administration has not made a final decision about whether to extend the student loan payment pause – a decision that will affect millions of student loan borrowers.

Rep. Pressley continues to urge President Biden to issue broad-based student debt cancellation by executive action ahead of the expiration of the payment pause.

For over two years, the Department has provided critical flexibility to millions of federal student loan borrowers by pausing payments, as many have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. This much needed pause has helped many borrowers to keep a roof over their heads, secure childcare, and purchase food, health care, and medicine during the course of a pandemic responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people in the U.S.,” wrote more than 100 lawmakers to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “For the first time, many borrowers have had the opportunity to pay down debt, open a savings account, purchase a home, and save for retirement—none of which would have been possible without the payment pause.”

The lawmakers emphasized how resuming student loan payments would force millions of borrowers to choose between paying their loans or putting a roof over their heads, food on the table, or paying for childcare and health care—while costs continue to rise and while yet another COVID-19 variant increases hospitalizations nationwide.

“Despite significant decreases over the last month, gas prices are still high, and many borrowers still have to pay exorbitant amounts each week in order to commute to their jobs. Food prices remain high, as suppliers contend with ongoing supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine. We still have a significant childcare crisis throughout the country, which has caused already-high costs to spike to 40% of their pre-pandemic levels,” the lawmakers added. “Low-income borrowers, Black and Brown borrowers, and women borrowers still face severe financial hardships as COVID-19 continues to infect individuals throughout the country and exacerbate existing inequities.”

The lawmakers concluded by pointing out how resuming student loan payments at this moment would further complicate administrative actions already underway at the U.S. Department of Education. All federal student loan borrowers are in limbo as they await upcoming actions from the Department of Education or their federal student loan servicer.

Joining Underwood, Cárdenas, and Pressley in the House in signing the letter are: Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.-12), Colin Allred (D-Texas-32), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Karen Bass (D-Calif.-37), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.-16), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.-02), Anthony Brown (D-Md.-04), Shontel Brown (D-Ohio-11), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.-24), André Carson (D-Ind.-07), Troy A. Carter (D-La.-02), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas-20), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.-20), Judy Chu (D-Calif.-27), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.-05), Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.-09), J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.-46), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.-07), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.-04), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.-04), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.-01), Val Demings (D-Fla.-10), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas-35), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas-16), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.-13), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.-03), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.-04), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas-29), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas-15), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.-03), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas-18), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.-07), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.-08), Henry C. Johnson, Jr. (D-Ga.-04), Kaialiʻi Kahele (D-Hawaii-02), William Keating (D-Mass.-09), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.-02), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.-17), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.-02), Conor Lamb (D-Pa.-17), John B. Larson (D-Conn.-01), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-13), Andy Levin (D-Mich.-09), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.-12), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.-06), James McGovern (D-Mass.-02), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.-06), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.-10), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-32), Marie Newman (D-Ill.-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.-At-Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.-14), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.-05), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.-09), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.-10), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-01), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.-02), Katie Porter (D-Calif.-45), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.-08), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.-40), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.-36), Gregorio Sablan (D-N. Mariana Is.-At-Large), Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.-38), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.-09), Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.-07), Albio Sires (D-N.J.-08), Darren Soto (D-Fla.-09), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.-11), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.-03), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.-15), Mark Takano (D-Calif.-41), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.-13), Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.-15), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12), Peter Welch (D-Vt.-AL), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.-5), and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.-24). Joining Menendez, Booker, Warren, and Schumer in the Senate in signing the letter are: Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Rep. Pressley, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, has been an outspoken advocate for student debt cancellation. Last 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.