President Joe Biden’s administration is considering extending the freeze on federal student loan payments before it expires in May, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said in an interview this week.
Asked about a Department of Education legal memo about the president’s authority to cancel student debt on the podcast “Pod Save America,” Klain said, “The president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he’ll extend the pause.
“Joe Biden right now is the only president in history where no one’s paid on their student loans for the entirety of his presidency,” Klain added.
Klain also said executive action on student debt forgiveness would be decided before the resumption of payments.
“Right now, people aren’t having to pay on their loans, and so I think dealing with the executive branch question, what we should do about that, what his powers are, how much we should do on that, that’s something we’re going to deal with later on,” Klain said.
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In December, Biden extended the freeze on federal student loan payments until May 1, citing economic struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The moratorium started under President Donald Trump during the early days of the pandemic. More than 40 million Americans have gone nearly two years without required payments or interests on $1.7 trillion in student loans.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that the Biden administration “will continue to assess and review as we get closer to May.”
“Typically there’s a period of time where you need to make a decision, or you at least need to convey to the lenders what they should prepare for, but I don’t have anything to predict at this point in time,” she said.
During his presidential campaign, Biden supported forgiving up to $10,000 of student debt for each borrower, though he has also said the move would have to come from Congress.
Contributing: Chris Quintana