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The White House announced Wednesday that the pause on federal student loan repayment will be extended for another 90 days, following fierce backlash from progressives after the Biden administration said the moratorium would end in February.
"Today my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days — through May 1, 2022 — as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery," President Joe Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
The pause on federal student loan payments was among Biden's first acts on day one of his presidency. The president extended the pause once previously in August, affecting an estimated 41 million Americans who have student loans to pay back.
"We know that millions of student loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payments," Biden said.
The president urged student loan borrowers to prepare to begin making payments on their debt again once the extension expires on May 1, 2022.
"Take full advantage of the Department of Education’s resources to help you prepare for payments to resume; look at options to lower your payments through income-based repayment plans; explore public service loan forgiveness; and make sure you are vaccinated and boosted when eligible," Biden said.
The president's announcement is a swift reversal from the position the White House took a little over a week ago, when press secretary Jen Psaki said loan payments would resume on Feb. 1, 2022.
Progressive activists and politicians stormed social media with outraged posts, accusing Biden of breaking his promise to relieve student loan debt.
Multiple Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), have previously called on Biden to take executive action to cancel as much as $50,000 in federal student loan debt for each borrower.
In a statement, Democrats applauded Biden's action but insisted that he do more.
"We’re pleased the Biden administration has heeded our call to extend the pause on student loan payments. As we stated in our December 8th letter, the pause on federal student loan payments, interest, and collections has improved borrowers’ economic security, allowing them to invest in their families, save for emergencies, and pay down other debt," the lawmakers said in a statement.
They continued: "Extending the pause will help millions of Americans make ends meet, especially as we overcome the Omicron variant. We continue to call on President Biden to take executive action to cancel $50,000 in student debt, which will help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate our economic recovery."
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