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Republicans Introduce Bill to Force Resumption of Student Loan Payments

By Owen Daugherty, NASFAA Staff Reporter

For months Republican lawmakers have been clamoring for the White House and Department of Education (ED) to resume monthly student loan payments that have been paused for more than two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, House Republicans have introduced legislation that would block ED’s legal authority to issue another extension of the payment pause. 

The bill, unveiled last week by Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Bob Good (R-Va.), would effectively force payments to resume on May 2 after the most recent extension issued by the Biden Administration in December comes to an end.

While the legislation has virtually no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled House, it underscores Republicans’ desire to move on from the pandemic and curb the executive authority being utilized as it relates to the coronavirus.

The legislation comes as the Biden administration is reportedly considering another extension of pause, as White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said recently that President Joe Biden “is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he'll extend the pause."

The new bill would also permanently roll back ED’s ability to provide relief to borrowers during national emergencies under the HEROES Act, a 2003 law that has been cited to give the White House the authority to pause student loan payments as a method of relief. The legislation calls ED’s use of that law to continue the payment pause currently in place an “abuse” of its authority.

 

Publication Date: 3/15/2022


Ben R | 3/15/2022 1:3:34 PM

Any discussion about relief through hardship needs to define that term and think through the implication of what that means for lending going forward. If we base it on the situation before the pause, only 40 percent of borrowers, holding under 25 percent of all dollars in the portfolio were paying down principal on their loans. The longer the deferment goes on, the more households will adjust their budgets to live without the loans, creating a “hardship” whenever payments start again, whether that’s May 1st or years from now.

Darren C | 3/15/2022 12:30:57 PM

It’s always very interesting to observe that even on a professional website, some people have no qualms with expressing their emotional political ties and bias.

That aside, we as a country need to start moving forward. Regarding education, it means finding reasonable ways for people to start paying off their student loan debt. The biggest problem to overcome was that payments were even paused in the first place. Now, as proven by past actions, ED is looking for ways to kick the can down the road and not take responsibility or accountability for the situation they themselves have helped create.

The only honest solution to all of this as I see it is an overhaul to our overpriced, out of control cost of education, however, forgiving debt for some, or removing their responsibility of repaying it is not the answer. If we had not forcibly shut down businesses and people’s ability to pay their employees in the first place, we’d be much more financially stable. Breaking an economy then “helping people” by removing their responsibility for their debt is not a solution.

These payment pauses, and numerous extensions have been confusing for schools, loan servicers and student loan borrowers. The way they have been extended last minute after months of prep has been done to help borrowers transition back into repayment is irresponsible at the least. We need to get back to student loan repayment while at the same time have ED actually stepping up with real solutions to allow borrowers to build their ability to make payments. Throwing away responsibility is the last thing anyone needs.

David S | 3/15/2022 9:50:52 AM

So it was OK when ED had the authority to provide relief to student loan borrowers during a national emergency when their guy was in the White House, but that should never be allowed again? Again, elections matter folks.

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