Biden Extends Eviction Freeze, Student Loan Pause, Plus More

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On his first day in office, January 20th, President Joe Biden got to work. Biden signed 17 executive orders or directives, quickly establishing his policy priorities and reversing a number of Trump-era policies. For instance, Biden ended construction on the border wall and eliminated the travel ban on many Muslim-majority countries. The president also signed a handful of orders that your wallet might want to hear about, including student loan forbearance extension.

Here are Biden’s moves on day one that could impact you and your finances.

Eviction Moratorium

Former President Donald Trump asked the CDC for a halt on evictions in August, and President Biden has followed suit by extending that freeze. Without this intervention, as many as five million Americans would face eviction or housing disruption, according to data from Stout. Millions can breathe a sigh of relief, but a freeze on eviction delays the inevitable for some who lost work or fell behind on rent.

Currently, the freeze will expire in March. However, Former President Trump extended the moratorium in 2020, and Biden can do the same this year. Biden’s eviction moratorium goes hand in hand with his broader stimulus proposal, which called for $25 billion in rental assistance. In it, he also calls on Congress to extend a freeze on evictions and foreclosures on federally-guaranteed mortgages through October.

Student Loan Forbearance

One of Former President Trump’s first actions, when the pandemic began, was to provide relief to student borrowers. Trump initially froze interest accrual and temporarily eliminated minimum monthly payments on federal loans.

Biden announced an extension of both measures through the end of September. Like the eviction moratorium, the president could follow up with a more direct relief measure. Biden spoke on the campaign trail about canceling $10,000 in student debt, per borrower, and still seems inclined to make that happen. For the time being, Biden extends loan forbearance and is considering forgiveness.

Combatting Hunger

Following his initial flurry in office, President Biden signed additional orders on January 22nd, mostly designed to provide aid to low-income families and individuals. Biden plans to tackle food insecurity by boosting SNAP benefits by 15 percent through June. In addition, he’s calling for a 15 percent boost to a CARES Act policy of paying low-income families who depended on in-person schooling for affordable lunches.

Minimum Wage

As a candidate, Biden called for the minimum wage to be raised to $15/hour. Another EO he signed on Friday could be the first step toward a boosted federal min. The order will allow Biden to boost wages for federal employees and contractors to $15.

While this only impacts a handful of people now, it could set the stage for a nationwide minimum wage. Tens of millions would see an immediate boost in their income, but millions of jobs could be lost as well. The minimum wage debate will be one of the most interesting of Biden’s presidency, and he started the fight in his first week.

Climate Orders  

As mentioned above, Biden announced the U.S. would be rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. The treaty serves as a global framework on battling climate change, and Biden plans to be a very eco-conscious leader. While this isn’t tied to your money directly, Biden hopes that his environmental policy will help spur economic development across the country. It’s clear that environmentalism will be a priority for this administration, and whether the economy enjoys a boost will be something to watch for.