The Biden administration is extending the nationwide student loan repayment freeze until next year amid lawsuits challenging his student debt relief plan, CNN reports.
President Joe Biden has been under pressure to restart student loan payments, which have been frozen since the Covid pandemic began in March 2020.
The Biden administration announced that it would not extend the pause when the president announced a program to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of borrowers and amend repayment plans.
But numerous right-wing groups and Republican-led states have filed lawsuits challenging the program.
Two courts have issued rulings striking down the plan, forcing the administration to pause accepting applications.
The administration is expected to appeal the rulings to the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration said the payment pause will continue until 60 days after the litigation is resolved.
If the program is still not implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, payments will resume 60 days after that, according to the Education Department.
“I’m completely confident my plan is legal,” Biden said in a video on Tuesday. “But 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.”
Supreme Court time:
The administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court ruling blocking the program, arguing it “leaves millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo.”
“The injunction thus frustrates the government’s ability to respond to the harmful economic consequences of a devastating pandemic with the policies it has determined are necessary,” the appeal argued.
Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, previously rejected two other challenges to Biden’s plan.