White House considering another pause in student loan payments
White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Thursday signaled that the White House would extend the freeze on student loan payments again, following no mention of student loans at the State of the Union earlier in the week.
“The president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he’ll extend the pause,” Klain said on an episode of the podcast “Pod Save America” that aired on Thursday.
The payment pause, which first began through a moratorium enacted under then-President Trump in March 2020, has been extended five times. It is set to expire in on May 2 after Biden extended it in January.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is reviewing an extension, when asked about Klain’s comments.
“That is obviously something we will continue to access and review as we get closer to May. Typically, there’s a period of time where you need to make a decision, or you at least need to convey to the leaners what they should prepare for, but I don’t have anything to predict at this point in time,” she told reporters.
Klain on the podcast said the White House will decide on whether to cancel student debt through executive action before the payments resume. He also noted that Biden is “only president in history where no one’s paid on their student loans for the entirety of his presidency.”
Biden in April requested a memo from the Department of Education to determine his authority to cancel student debt through executive action. Since then, the administration has not publicly announced if the memo is complete.
The White House has recently pointed to the president’s extension in January when asked about the lack of action on student loan forgiveness, an issue the president has been under pressure by Democrats to address throughout his time in office.
The president did not talk about canceling student loan debt in his first State of the Union address after he campaigned in 2020 on forgiving at least $10,000 in federal student loans per person. Progressives have called on him to step that number up to $50,000 per borrower.