Biden to extend student loan pause as court battle drags on

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration will extend a pause on federal student loan payments while the White House fights a legal battle to save his plan to cancel portions of the debt.

“It isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit,” Biden said in a video posted on Twitter.

The moratorium was slated to expire Jan. 1, a date that Biden set before his debt cancellation plan stalled in the face of legal challenges from conservative opponents.

Now it will extend until 60 days after the lawsuit is resolved. If the lawsuit has not been resolved by June 30, payments would resume 60 days after that.

Biden’s plan promises $10,000 in federal student debt forgiveness to those with incomes of less than $125,000, or households earning less than $250,000. Pell Grant recipients, who typically demonstrate more financial need, are eligible for an additional $10,000 in relief.

More than 26 million people already applied for the relief, with 16 million approved, but the Education Department stopped processing applications this month after a federal judge in Texas struck down the plan.

The Justice Department last week asked the Supreme Court to examine the issue and reinstate Biden’s debt cancellation plan. By extending the pause, the administration says it’s giving the court a chance to resolve the case in its current term.

“I’m completely confident my plan is legal,” Biden said Tuesday.

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