Americans are anxiously waiting for Congress to pass another round of coronavirus relief legislation, though there is uncertainty in what it might include. President Trump has indicated he would support some form of stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, but the president has not made it clear if he would back student loan relief.
The CARES Act provided a suspension of student loan payments and interest accrual for about six months, but that will end soon. Many are pushing for the pause to continue, as the economy has still not recovered and the coronavirus pandemic is only getting worse in some states. A proposal from Republican Congressman Steve Stivers of Ohio would extend the hiatus through the end of the year.
Others have pushed for student debt forgiveness in varying amounts. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wants at least $10,000 in student loan forgiveness and even Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has joined her in that call.
Progressives have called for eliminating $30,000 in student debt. And House Democrats passed a bill this spring that would provide $10,000 in debt forgiveness to distressed borrowers and extended the student loan payment suspension for a whole year.
President Trump has been somewhat inconsistent on the issue of debt forgiveness. His administration has been opposed to existing debt forgiveness programs, but he has seemed to be somewhat more open to it. Earlier this year, he was reportedly considering a student loan forgiveness policy as he felt political pressure from Senators Warren and Bernie Sanders in their presidential campaigns.
Even before the CARES Act passed, Trump proposed a shorter student loan payment suspension. He also proposed waiving interest on student loans for a brief time. However, he has been mostly silent on the issue as Congress considers the next legislative package, choosing to focus primarily on unemployment benefits and stimulus checks.