04.06.22

Senator Burr Blasts Biden Administration for Fourth Extension of Student Loan Repayment Freeze

Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after the Biden Administration announced its four-month extension to the student loan repayment freeze, the fourth such extension under this Administration:

“The Biden Administration wants to have their cake and eat it, too: they want to tout America’s return to normal following the pandemic, but also want to keep extending emergency relief policies. It’s long past time for student loan repayments to resume as normal. Extending the freeze on student loan repayments, yet again, contradicts reality and exacerbates the moral hazard this Administration has created.

“Each time the Administration has kicked the can down the road by extending the repayment freeze, it’s cost taxpayers an estimated $5 billion per month. This four-month extension is estimated to cost $20 billion, which is in addition to $100 billion Americans have already spent on the ‘temporary’ executive action.

“This is an unacceptable burden on taxpayers, which disproportionally benefits higher-income earners who have advanced degrees. Instead, the Administration should work with Congress on existing, bipartisan proposals to simplify student loan repayment programs to give borrowers greater flexibility and certainty.”

Background:

On August 6, 2021, Senator Burr criticized the Administration’s decision to again extend the repayment freeze for four months. 

On June 2, 2021, Senator Burr and Representative Virginia Foxx (NC-05) sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging the Department to not extend the repayment freeze and requesting an update on its plan to transition student loan borrowers from the COVID-19 freeze to active repayment status.

On March 18, 2021, Senators Burr and Angus King (I-ME) reintroduced the Repay Act to reform federal student loan repayment programs by consolidating the existing nine programs into tow, easy-to-navigate repayment plans.

On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was signed into law, which paused student loan repayments through September 30, 2020. The pause was extended by then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on August 21, 2020, through December 31, 2020, and extended again through January 31, 2021. On January 20, 2021, President Biden announced the extension of the loan pause through September 30, 2021. Another extension was announced by the Biden Administration on August 6, 2021, through January 31, 2022. The freeze was extended again on December 22, 2021 through May 1, 2022. 

Today’s announcement is the fourth extension by the Biden Administration and sixth overall extension since the program was created by executive action.