U.S. Representative Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, is trying to convince the president to extend the student loan payment pause put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtney and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California are “leading an effort in Congress to eliminate all interest charges on existing federal student loans,” according to Courtney’s office. At a press conference on Wednesday, the two men urged President Joe Biden to extend the pause in student loan repayments and, along with 27 other House Democrats, are sending a letter to the Biden administration asking for a rate 0% interest.

Courtney said borrowers are unprepared when the break ends. “Although the pandemic has receded for now, we are still not at the end of the national public health emergency,” he said on Wednesday. “Our request to the president was that it is still premature to move forward and allow the existing status quo to return.”

The pause in student loan payments is currently set to end on May 1.

According to the US Department of Education, keeping the interest rate at 0% would save borrowers an average of $576 per year.

Both representatives said they believe the 0% interest rate should extend beyond the pandemic and will push for this policy.

In addition to members of Congress, a number of people offered first-hand accounts of their education and experience borrowing student loans in the United States. They said outstanding student loans have caused problems getting untied loans, how much they appreciate the pandemic pause on loan repayments, and described how student loan debt has made it difficult to save money. ‘money. They also said that even if the president does not in fact cancel any student loan debt, it would be helpful to reduce the interest rate to 0%, and their credit scores in general and interest rates on loans unbound have already improved during the break.

Swalwell said this type of 0% interest metric “has been a crusade” for Courtney in the past. He noted that “this is something that doesn’t need a bill to be signed into law, the president can do it himself.”

“The interest rate is fixed by the administration, so we believe it can be reduced to zero,” Swalwell added. “Congress doesn’t vote every time an interest rate moves.”

Biden initially supported canceling student loan debt altogether, but fell short of that promise. His administration has canceled $15 billion in student loans since the start of his tenure through public service loan forgiveness, total and permanent disability loans, and other specific types of loan forgiveness.

Courtney has been a long-time supporter of expanding the civil service loan exemption. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education passed policy changes pushed by Courtney in a previous bill, which sought to correct U.S. Department of Education practices involving student loan forgiveness requests. active duty soldiers. The rules that were in place prevented a number of active duty service members who deployed away from their families from applying their entire service period to pardon, which means they must fire in time for their service in order to to qualify.

[email protected]