The White House extended the pause on student loan payments Tuesday while the Biden-Harris Student Loan Forgiveness Program remains blocked in court.
President Joe Biden made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter, citing Republican efforts to block the plan and deny debt relief. This comes after a federal judge in Texas blocked the program on Nov. 11, calling it unconstitutional.
“I’m completely confident that my plan is legal, but right now it is on hold because of these lawsuits,” Biden said. “We’re not going to back down in our fight to give families breathing room. That’s why the Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to rule on the case.”
Payments will resume 60 days after the pause ends, which will be no later than June 30, or after litigation has been resolved.
“It isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers who are eligible for student relief to resume their debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit,” Biden said.
Biden said the June 30 deadline will allow the Supreme Court to make a ruling during its current term.
The student loan forgiveness program was announced in August. Under the plan, eligible borrowers can have $10,000 or $20,000 in debt forgiven depending on if they are a Pell Grant recipient or not.
U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal asked for a stay of judgment order with a federal court in Texas last week, warning of the potential harm to borrowers if the debt relief plan remains blocked.
Kvaal said about 16 million applications were already approved in less than a month. About 26 million people applied for forgiveness since applications opened Oct. 17.
“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,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.
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