President Biden again extended the student-loan repayment moratorium Tuesday, putting off the deadline until at least June 30 if ongoing litigation does not resolve the matter.
If no headway is made on the outstanding lawsuits, loan repayments would be expected to resume 60 days after June 30.
“Republican special interests and elected officials sued to deny this relief even for their own constituents…It isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit,” Biden said in a video posted on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
Over 26 million people have applied for the student-debt cancellation scheme, of which nearly two-thirds have been approved by the federal government, the New York Times notes.
The White House has faced several hurdles since it first announced its intentions to bail out federal Pell Grants. In November, two separate courts agreed with claimants challenging the Biden administration. First, Texas federal judge Mark Pittman blocked the payout as an “unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power.”
“No one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States,” Judge Mark Pittman wrote in his opinion.
The following week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit issued a unanimous injunction against Biden’s plan.
Despite the legal setbacks, the White House remains firm in its commitment to upholding the debt cancellation.
“The Administration will continue to fight these baseless lawsuits by Republican officials and special interests and will never stop fighting to support working and middle-class Americans,” Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in mid-November.
The student-loan pause originally dates back to March 2020, when then-President Donald Trump postponed repayments as part of broader Covid relief measures at the time.
The latest move marks the sixth time the Biden administration has paused the repayment plan.