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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Calling On The Biden Administration To Extend The Pause On Student Loan Payments

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor calling on the Biden Administration to extend the moratorium on student loan payments. Senator Schumer also urged the administration to take further action and cancel student loan debt. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

As the year comes to an end tens of millions, tens of millions of Americans face another looming deadline they cannot afford: soon the federal government’s moratorium on student loan payments will expire and payments are set to resume in February of next year.

Yesterday, I joined with my colleagues Senator Warren and Representative Pressley to call on the Biden Administration to extend the pause on student loan payments. The pause expires in January. We've been paused because of COVID. It ought to be extended, COVID is not over. Students still have these huge burdens and they're just readjusting to life where they may have missed school or missed jobs or not gotten fully paid. So we need to certainly pause these payments.

But we also urge the administration to take the next important step in granting borrowers relief by cancelling student loan debt.

As we keep recovering from COVID, as Americans are looking to cut costs and make ends meet, now is precisely the wrong time for us to allow this common-sense moratorium to end.

According to one study it could strip away more than $85 billion dollars—$85 billion—from American families over the coming year. At a time like this that just makes no sense, we should give student loan payers a break and keep the moratorium going.

Should the moratorium be allowed to expire, the burden will fall heaviest on those who are least prepared to shoulder it: on low income borrowers and borrowers of color, who typically have to take out more loans than white Americans, and end up paying them back over a much longer time horizon.

On the flip side, the President’s decision to extend the moratorium over the course of the year was precisely, precisely, the right thing to do: it’s allowed borrowers to focus on saving up for these hard times, to save up for emergencies, and to pay down other forms of debt. We should keep it going.

This is about taking one commonsense, easy step to save peoples costs; it’s about racial equity; and it’s about giving people more opportunities to build wealth and achieve the American Dream and the administration can do it on its own. We don't need any kind of congressional approval. We know how arduous those things are around here.

And should the moratorium be extended, the Administration should take further action to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.

Imagine the economic activity we can see if tens of millions of Americans are suddenly freed from crushing student loan debt: they can buy homes, start a business, buy a car, help send their own kids to college. What a boon that would be for the country, especially at a time like now when it is needed.

For decades, higher education was considered a ladder up for tens of millions of people—for immigrants, people of color, and working class families. But today it is an anchor weighing too many down.

These Americans deserve relief, they deserve help, and they deserve to have the moratorium extended and their student loan debts cancelled.