Sen. Daughtry, Rep. Arford lead call for extension of student loan relief
AUGUSTA — With the federal student loan relief program set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020, Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick, and Rep. Poppy Arford, D-Brunswick, sent a letter to Maine’s congressional delegation, calling on them to support extending the program. Enacted by President Trump through an Executive Order on March 20, 2020, the program suspended student loan payments and temporarily set interest rates at 0 percent.
The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 18 Representatives and 20 Senators, including Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau.
“As the colder months set in, Mainers are struggling to heat their homes, pay rent and keep food on the table,” said Sen. Daughtry and Rep. Arford. “Folks who have been hard working members of their communities all their lives are now facing the challenging winter months during a pandemic with fewer places to turn to for help. We believe extending the student loan relief program will continue to help keep constituents afloat in these final months before a vaccine becomes readily available and people can safely and reliably return to work, full time.”
The average American pays about $400 per month in student loan bills, and over 90 percent of borrowers are taking advantage of the option to pause their payments during the pandemic. Maine currently is experiencing a spike in unemployment higher than the previous five months, and the state has recovered just half the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic. U.S. Congressional leaders are nearing an agreement on a new COVID-19 relief package that is likely to include an extended pause on federal student loan payments.