In spite of his campaign promises to the contrary, the president is dragging his feet on lifting a burden weighing on millions of Americans.

By Aída Chávez, The Nation

President Joe Biden still plans on restarting federal student loan payments in May, falling short of his campaign promise to forgive at least $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower. As the coronavirus pandemic enters its third year and the White House hemorrhages support from young people, progressives, as well as advocates for debt cancellation, warn that inaction on the student debt crisis will almost certainly hurt Democrats in this year’s midterm elections.

Biden’s refusal to implement modest debt relief also comes at a time when prices are surging and pandemic-related federal benefits are being phased out, placing the greatest burden on the poor and working-class. After facing backlash for failing to further extend a moratorium on student loan payments, first enacted under the Trump administration when the pandemic began two years ago, the Biden administration reversed its position last month and announced a 90-day extension of the moratorium, citing the Omicron variant as the primary reason for the change.

President Biden in front of a group of graduating students
Photo by Gage Skidmore

“The longer there’s a pause, the harder it is to justify the need to collect on these payments when people can’t pay, and, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like people’s financial situations are going to get any better in the next few months,” Braxton Brewington, a spokesperson for the Debt Collective, a national union for debt holders, told The Nation.

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