Biden may extend the student-loan payment pause again or 'look at what we should do on student debt' before May, White House's Ron Klain says

WH Chief of Staff Ron Klain
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain suggested the student-loan payment pause may be extended again.

  • If not, Biden will "look at what we should do on student debt" before May, Klain told Pod Save America.

  • Some advocates have argued that if Biden can extend the pause, he can broadly cancel student debt.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain suggested student-loan borrowers may be on track for further relief before payments are set to resume on May 1.

"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 told Pod Save America on Thursday.

"Joe Biden right now is the only president in history where no one's paid on their student loans for the entirety of his presidency. And so the question whether or not there's some executive action on student debt forgiveness when payments resume is a decision we're going to take before payments resume," Klain added.

Student-loan payments have been on pause for nearly two years as part of pandemic relief. In December, Biden extended the pause again, through May 1. Given the continued extensions of the student-loan freeze, some lawmakers and advocates have argued that Biden should go ahead and wipe out some, or all, of the $1.7 trillion student-debt load altogether — but the president has been wary of his executive ability to act on the issue, despite his campaign pledge to do so.

Those pushing for broad relief have noticed the president's silence on the issue. He did not mention the student debt crisis once during his State of the Union address, which angered advocacy groups like the Debt Collective, who told Insider on Tuesday that 45 million Americans "with nearly $2 trillion in skyrocketing student loan debt heard rhetoric — not results — from President Biden tonight."

The Debt Collective — the nation's first debtor's union — also launched plans for a student debt strike on Friday should payments resume in May, with the goal of helping borrowers get their monthly payments as close as possible to $0 while avoiding default.

Still, Klain's comments on Thursday suggest federal student-loan borrowers may be on track for more relief, but it's unclear whether that relief is the broad student-loan forgiveness for which many are calling. Despite pushback from some Republican lawmakers who argue loan forgiveness is bad for taxpayers and the economy, many Democrats maintain that the relief is an economic stimulus.

"A third extension would be welcome," New York Rep. Mondaire Jones said last week. "But we can't keep slapping Band-Aids on a deepening wound. The cycle of indefinite postponement is as unsustainable as the debt itself. And if the country can afford to keep putting off these loan repayments, we can afford to cancel the debt altogether."

Read the original article on Business Insider