GOP Sen. Joni Ernst said another student-loan payment pause extension would be "shortsighted."
She introduced a bill that would tell borrowers the estimated interest costs prior to taking on debt.
This comes as pressure is building on Biden to provide further relief before payments resume on May 1.
A Republican lawmaker doesn't want student-loan borrowers to get more relief — she wants them to understand the costs of a loan before taking on debt.
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley, introduced the STUDENT Act last week, which would provide borrowers applying for student loans an estimate of the total amount of interest they would pay based on a ten-year repayment plan. As pressure is mounting for President Joe Biden to extend the pause on student-loan payments, Ernst said her legislation should be considered, instead.
"This is a shortsighted & unfair deal for the vast majority of Americans who didn't take on debt & will ultimately be stuck w/ the bill," Ernst wrote on Twitter, referring to the potential of another payment pause extension. "Let's make sure students have a clear picture of these costs before they take out a loan w/ my STUDENT Act instead of forcing others to pay it."
Student-loan payments have been paused for the duration of the pandemic, and Biden extended that relief three times, most recently through May 1. With that resumption date just over a month away, lawmakers and advocates are ramping up pressure for the president to deliver further relief, either in the form of another payment pause extension or broad debt cancellation.
But Republican lawmakers like Ernst have been outspoken against giving federal borrowers an additional reprieve on their student-debt loads. Two House Republicans recently introduced legislation to block the Education Secretary from using his authority to extend the payment pause in connection to pandemic relief, and in January, top Republican on the House education committee Virginia Foxx called broad student-loan forgiveness "a massive mistake," followed by all GOP members of the committee later slamming broad relief as "reckless" and "short-sighted."
Across the aisle, many Democratic lawmakers have argued the opposite: broad student-loan relief would stimulate the economy and is a cost the government can afford. New York Rep. Mondaire Jones recently said "the economy didn't implode" over the past two years payments have been on pause, and experts have suggested that's a good indicated as to what might happen if further relief is implemented.
With student-loan payments set to resume in just over a month, borrowers are waiting to hear from Biden if more relief is coming. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain recently said that if Biden doesn't extend the pause again, he will see what he can do on student debt via executive action — a route lawmakers have been pushing for, but one the president himself has been hesitant pursuing.
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