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                  Resarh Service

President Trump's Executive Actions on

Student Loans, Wage Assistance, Payroll

Taxes, and Evictions: Initial Takeaways

August 10, 2020
In enacting the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act (CARES Act), Congress provided
relief to those confronting economic hardship as a result of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
pandemic. Certain CARES Act protections related to student loans are scheduled to expire in fall 2020.
Other CARES Act relief, including moratoria on certain evictions and foreclosures and an additional $600
in weekly unemployment compensation, have already expired. Still other CARES Act relief, including
deferred collection of payroll taxes, extends to some taxpayers but not others. On August 8, 2020, in four
executive actions, President Trump directed federal agencies to extend student loan relief, provide further
lost wage assistance, expand tax collection deferrals, and explore additional eviction or foreclosure
protections. This Sidebar takes a first look at the President's executive actions, explaining how these
actions relate to existing or expired CARES Act authorities and potential statutory questions. This Sidebar
closes by flagging potential issues for Congress.

Student Loan Payment Relief

On August 8, 2020, President Trump signed a presidentialmemorardum expressing his view that
payments and interest accrual on student loans should remain suspended past September 30, 2020, until
such time that the economy has stabilized, schools have re-opened, and the crisis brought on by the
COVID- 19 pandemic has subsided. The memorandum directs the Secretary of Education to continue
the temporary cessation of payments and the waiver of all interest on student loans held by the
Department of Education until December 31, 2020.
The memorandum cites Section 455(f)(2)(D) of the Higher Education Act (l-LA), which allows eligible
borrowers to defer certain federally held student loans if they experience economic hardship. Such a
deferment temporarily relieves the borrower of an obligation to pay principal installments on the loan. For
some (but not all) loans, a deferment also temporarily suspends the accrual of loan interest.
To implement the proposed suspension of payments and interest accrual, the presidential memorandum
directs the Secretary of Education to take action pursuant to applicable law to effectuate appropriate
                                                             Congressional Research Service

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