Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) looks down the hall after speaking to reporters after the Senate Democrats’ weekly political lunch on July 20, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Key Democrats Tuesday called on President Joe Biden to extend the suspension of federal student loan payments, arguing that failure to continue the policy would weigh on borrowers and hinder economic recovery.

The Biden government has suspended payments, accrued interest, and recoveries on Department of Education loans through September 30th. The policy went into effect last year when the coronavirus pandemic devastated the US economy.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., And Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Urged Biden to extend the moratorium until at least March on Tuesday. They also renewed their demands on the president to cancel up to $ 50,000 per borrower in government student debt through executive action.

“We urge President Biden to act urgently,” Pressley told reporters. “Failure to act would be ruthless and undermine our economic recovery.”

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond when asked if Biden planned to extend the payment hiatus or cancel federal debt for students.

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Americans hold about $ 1.7 trillion in student debt. During the pandemic, the suspension of payments on the government’s stake helped cover millions of living expenses after an economic slump.

The economy rebounded this year as Covid-19 vaccinations increased and state and local governments lifted restrictions. The unemployment rate was 5.9% in June, after a high of 14.8% in April 2020.

Pressley cited in part an increase in US Covid infections fueled by the Delta variant as a justification for maintaining the suspension of payments. Warren also pointed to a survey by the Pew Charitable Trust that found that more than two-thirds of federal student loan borrowers are unwilling to resume payments.

“Deciding what to pay will be the hardest part of the world for the weakest,” Warren said.

Advocates for federal loan forgiveness say payments have deterred Americans from setting up businesses and making larger purchases, and placing a disproportionate burden on color borrowers.

Schumer, Warren and Pressley have claimed the president has the power to cancel federal debt alone.

“All President Biden has to do is move his pen and sign it,” said the Senate majority leader.

Biden has asked Congress to grant student loans of up to $ 10,000 per borrower. He said he feared giving up to $ 50,000 per person that might make better who have advanced degrees.

The White House previously said that members of the Biden administration would prepare memos outlining the president’s powers to cancel debt before making a decision. However, it is unclear whether he received or checked the memos.

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