Today (Nov. 22) President Joe Biden announced that the pause on federal student loan payments has been extended through June 30, 2023, while the White House battles in court to save his debt forgiveness plans.
"As Americans continue to recover from the pandemic, my administration is working to provide student debt relief to millions of working and middle class families across the country," President Biden said in a video message posted on his Twitter account. "But Republicans special interest and elected officials sued to deny this relief, even for their own constituents."
The pandemic-era payment pause was originally set to expire on Jan. 1. "Payments will resume 60 days after the pause ends," Biden continued. "I'm never going to apologize for helping working-class and middle-class families recover from the economic crisis created by the pandemic, and I'll continue working to make government work to deliver for all Americans."
As of early this month, over 16 million applications for student debt forgiveness were approved. According to the White House, more than 26 million people in the country have applied, since Biden announced the opening of the online application in October. But following a federal judge's ruling in Texas this month, a notice on the Student Aid portal's website says that the Department of Education has temporarily stopped taking applications as challenges to the policy rules out in court.
"Callous efforts to block student debt relief in the courts have caused tremendous financial uncertainty for millions of borrowers who cannot set their family budgets or even plan for the holidays without a clear picture of their student debt obligations, and it’s just plain wrong," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
He continued, "I want borrowers to know that the Biden-Harris Administration has their backs and we’re as committed as ever to fighting to deliver essential student debt relief to tens of millions of Americans. We’re extending the payment pause because it would be deeply unfair to ask borrowers to pay a debt that they wouldn’t have to pay, were it not for the baseless lawsuits brought by Republican officials and special interests.”