All signs currently point to President Biden extending the federal student loan payment and interest pause beyond its scheduled May 1st, 2022 expiration.
Congressional Republicans want to take away Biden’s authority to extend the help for borrowers.
Even though the proposed legislation will never pass, it has several significant implications for borrowers.
The Student Loan Integrity Act
GOP Reps. Jim Banks and Bob Good want the federal student loan payment and interest waiver to end on May 1st, 2022.
Their proposed legislation would eliminate the executive branch’s authority to modify or waive student loan terms under the HEROES Act. In other words, it takes away Biden’s ability to extend the student loan relief.
Why the Student Loan Integrity Act will Never Pass
While many Republicans have taken issue with the payment and interest freeze, they don’t have enough support to pass this bill.
For starters, the bill is unlikely to even get a vote in the Democratically controlled House or Senate. Even in the unlikely event that the bill were to pass, President Biden almost certainly would veto the legislation.
The proposed legislation appears to be nothing more than political grandstanding.
What the Bill Means for Borrowers
Even though the bill has no hope of passing, it could be trouble for borrowers.
Biden is under heavy pressure from members of his own party to extend the relief and offer some form of debt cancellation. Thus far, Republican opposition to the student loan aid has been relatively minimal.
The political calculation for Biden gets more complicated as opposition to student loan help grows. Independent voters unaffected by student debt may see continued support to borrowers as a handout. If resistance to the student loan relief increases, Biden may proceed with the repayment restart.
The flipside of this equation is that many Republican voters benefit from the student loan payment and interest freeze. If Republicans are too vocal in opposition to the assistance, they risk alienating some of their voters.
How the Bill Could Help Borrowers
Legislation from Republicans isn’t much of a threat to the current pause on interest and suspension of payments.
The big dangers have always been judicial intervention and Biden deciding to end the relief.
The extent of the President’s authority regarding federal student loans is somewhat ambiguous. The big debate right now is whether or not the President can cancel student debt. Some might argue that the President can’t keep issuing extensions and charging zero percent interest.
Proposing this legislation makes it less likely that the courts will step in to force student loan repayment to resume. Introducing legislation to prevent the President from extending the relief is a tacit admission that the President currently has the authority to extend the relief. If a lawsuit ever gets filed to end the student loan help, lawyers can argue that the Republicans didn’t get what they wanted from Congress, so now they are taking it to the courts for a do-over. It hurts their legal argument, and it looks bad politically.
For borrowers, the big threat to the student loan aid is President Biden deciding that it should end…
Making Sure the Student Loan Relief Doesn’t End
Borrowers can influence whether or not the student loan relief gets extended.
Call your elected officials to let them know you are not ready to resume payments. Let them know how student loan bills would impact your life.
Calling and emailing Congress might seem hopeless. However, under the right circumstances, it can make a huge difference.