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A U.S. flag flies above a building as students graduate from California's Pasadena City College in June 2019. Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP

As part of his day one executive actions, President-elect Biden on Wednesday will ask the Department of Education to extend federal student loan relief, hoping to pause payments and interest accrual until at least Sept. 30.

Why it matters: The relief, in place since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, is set to expire Jan. 31 . The measures, which also include expanding forgiveness and income-based repayment programs, have helped tens of millions of borrowers handle the financial strain brought on by the public health crisis.

  • According to a Pew survey, conducted in August and September, 58% of borrowers said they would find it somewhat or very difficult to begin repaying their loans again in the next month.

What to watch: Wednesday's move is expected to be only the first step Biden takes to tackle the nearly $1.7 trillion student debt crisis and restart the economy.

  • "Alleviating the crushing financial burden of student debt" will be an immediate priority of the Biden administration, his team said last week.
  • Biden also supports "immediately" canceling $10,000 of federal student loan debt per borrower but it is unclear if he will do so through executive
  • But the president is facing pressure from some Democrats, including Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y), and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) to cancel — through executive action — up to $50,000 in federal student debt for all borrowers.

Worth noting: Student debt forgiveness is not part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package Biden outlined earlier this month.

🎧Go deeper: Biden's plan to forgive student debt

Go deeper

Small businesses receive $35 billion in new round of PPP loans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Small Business Administration said last night that so far this year, it has approved 400,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans worth $35 billion — out of the $284 billion of total available funding.

Driving the news: These are the first figures on the status of the forgivable loan program since it relaunched on Jan. 11.

$1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill clears major procedural vote in Senate

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Senate voted 67-32 on Wednesday to advance the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Why it matters: After weeks of negotiating, portions of the bill remain unwritten, but the Senate can now start debating the legislation to resolve outstanding issues.

Fed chair says he isn't concerned by Delta surge

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at the G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Venice last month. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

One of the country's most influential economic officials doesn't anticipate that surging coronavirus cases will knock the reopening recovery off course.

What he's saying: "There has tended to be less economic implications from each [coronavirus] wave. We'll see if that's the case for the Delta variety," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters today.