WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Representative Madeleine Dean (PA-04) joined Pennsylvania congressional colleagues in a letter urging President Biden to extend the moratorium on federal student loan repayments. The letter was led by Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) and was signed by Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Susan Wild (PA-07), Matt Cartwright (PA-08) and Mike Doyle (PA-18). The moratorium, implemented due to the economic constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, was set to expire on January 31, 2022.
“During a time of economic crisis, the CARES Act temporarily relieved Pennsylvanians with student loans, but the pandemic is not over,” Rep. Dean said. “Which is why I join my colleagues in imploring the Biden Administration to continue the pause on student loans payments to lift this heavy burden while our families and nation continue to confront the hardships of the pandemic.”
“The pandemic has left too many people struggling to pay for basic necessities,” Rep. Lamb said. “Pennsylvania is ranked number two in average debt held by graduates, and most student loan borrowers – including veterans– are not in a position to begin making payments. President Biden must extend the pause on student loan repayments until the pandemic is over.”
"As someone who is still paying off tens of thousands of dollars of student loans myself, I’m well aware student loan debt was already a significant problem prior to the pandemic," Rep. Boyle said. “It would only have gotten worse if not for the decisive action of President Biden to hit the ‘pause button’ on student loan repayment. This was a lifeline that saved millions from going into default, or worse. I proudly join my colleagues in urging President Biden to extend the moratorium."
“The pandemic isn’t over, so the student loan payment pause shouldn’t be over either. President Biden has the power to do this without the approval of the Senate, and I strongly urge him to announce a continuation of this pause soon,” Rep. Evans said.
“As the Omicron variant surges in the United States, it is clear the pandemic is far from over, and too many Americans are still struggling to cover basic expenses like rent, food, and child care,” Rep. Scanlon said. “Resuming student loan payments in this moment — just as we are experiencing another spike in COVID-19 cases — will hurt families that are least able to navigate this ongoing crisis. We call upon President Biden to extend the pause on student loan repayments as the country tackles the latest surge and continues to recover.”
"We are still in the midst of a deadly pandemic," Rep. Houlahan said. "Since it began two years ago, the pause on federal student loan payments has been a lifeline to borrowers in Pennsylvania, including veterans. This pause gives Americans the financial flexibility they need to pay for child care, rent, health care bills, and other household expenditures. At a moment of uncertainty about the latest covid variant, I'm proud to join fellow veteran and colleague Rep. Conor Lamb in urging the Biden Administration to continue suspending student loan payments."
“With the pandemic still ongoing, student loan borrowers deserve the relief and peace of mind of an extended loan payment moratorium, especially as cases spike nationwide from the Omicron variant,” Rep. Wild said. “I am glad to join my Pennsylvania colleagues in this effort.”
“Extending the CARES Act’s pause on required student loan payments will help students complete degrees and graduates get into the workforce as the country addresses the pandemic’s continuing economic challenges. It will particularly help veterans with dependents who are managing educational debt,” Rep. Cartwright said.
“Many Pennsylvanians are still unemployed or underemployed,” Rep. Doyle said. “A lot of families are still struggling to get by financially. This winter, as we deal with the onslaught of the Omicron variant, is not the time for student loan payments to start back up. That’s why I urged the President to extend the student loan payment moratorium.”
President Biden announced today that he will extend the moratorium. Payments will resume on May 1, 2022.
Click here to view a copy of the letter.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.