Democrats in Congress have started to press President Joe Biden to adopt measures to extend the freeze on student loan payments, which is set to expire on May 1.
To date, the freeze has been extended five times since it was put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The move has generated pushback from others who believe that these relief measures should be allowed to expire, as the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures has been allowed to expire.
We asked two professors and authors of ALM’s Tax Facts with opposing political viewpoints to share their opinions about extending the freeze on student loan payments.
Below is a summary of the debate that ensued between the two professors.
Bloink: Yes, we’ve made progress and have started to return to normal after nearly two years of COVID-19-related safety measures. However, it remains important to continue these important COVID-related relief measures in place to protect millions of Americans. The increased cost of living that we’ve experienced over the last year has made it difficult for Americans to continue putting food on the table despite a strong labor market. That fact alone makes a strong case for continuing these and other relief measures.
Byrnes: This is just an election-year plot designed by struggling Democrats to secure votes and maintain their footing in Congress. Yes, early in the pandemic, the student loan repayment freeze was necessary to protect millions of Americans who may have defaulted because of unprecedented conditions. Now, Americans are returning to work and no longer need this relief — which, by the way, is being shouldered by responsible taxpayers who have continued to support themselves during the pandemic.