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H.R. 7058: Federal Student Loan Integrity Act


Fittingly, they want to end a freeze right as the weather is finally warming up.

Context

Shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the federal government froze student loan payments.

First done in March 2020, the freeze was extended several times across both the Republican Donald Trump and Democratic Joe Biden administrations. The most recent extension was granted in December 2021, through May 1, 2022.

As that deadline approaches, Biden’s Education Department recently hinted that they may extend the freeze once again. Some on the left are advocating the administration continue the freeze into 2023. Some of the party’s most left-leaning members, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are even advocating Biden cancel student loans entirely.

Others argue the opposite perspective: that you can’t just let people off the hook from the financial decisions they voluntarily took on, that surely student loans have to resume at some point, and economic metrics like the unemployment rate are now strong enough that those payments can now resume once more.

What the bill does

The Federal Student Loan Integrity Act would prevent the Education Department from extending the current freeze on student loans, forcing their continued payments once again.

The bill was introduced on March 11 as H.R. 7058, by Rep. Bob Good (R-VA5).

What supporters say

Supporters argue that student loans have to resume at some point. Obviously nobody likes having to pay them, but they do exist and logistically they just can’t remain frozen forever.

“The Biden Administration needs to put an end to their COVID madness once and for all. After two years of shuttering countless businesses and making it much harder to buy gas and groceries, it is adding insult to injury to force working families to continue subsidizing the elite’s student loans,” Rep. Good told Breitbart News.

“The pause so far has cost the taxpayers over $76 billion, more than any other federal higher education expense during that period,” a Republican Study Committee press release said. “Democrats and the Biden Administration may claim that they are worried about inflation, but the continued extension of this policy has helped drive up costs for working class Americans.”

(The challenge for Republicans is that they argue the economy has finally returned to a point where student loans can safely unfreeze, even as they simultaneously bash “the Biden economy” for its inflation.)

What opponents say

Opponents, including the top Democrat on the Senate committee dealing with education, counter that the current freeze should be extended not just as an economic necessity but as a simple matter of goodwill. The chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee proposes extending the student loan freeze until 2023.

“I have heard horror stories from borrowers about hours-long phone calls with their student loan servicers trying to get questions answered, or reading through pages of fine print to figure out the best repayment program or how to consolidate loans,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said in a March press release. “I’ve heard stories of folks spending weeks applying for a student loan discharge after paying their loans for decades — all to find out that they can’t get the relief they were promised because of impossibly complicated paperwork or an obscure technicality.”

“These aren’t just inconveniences,” Sen. Murray continued. “We’re talking about a policy failure that has financial consequences that keep people in jobs they don’t like, prevent them from buying houses or starting families — or force them to choose between making their loan payments and paying for groceries, rent, or health care.”

Odds of passage

The bill has attracted 11 cosponsors, all Republicans. It awaits a potential vote in the House Education and Labor Committee.

Odds of passage are low in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

Last updated Mar 31, 2022. View all GovTrack summaries.

No summary available.