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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 โ€” through executive action โ€” 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.

๐ŸŽงGo 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 โ€” 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.

Andrew Freedman, author ofย Generate
Updated 21 mins ago - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

Schumer vows to confirm Breyer replacement "with all deliberate speed"

Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer responded Wednesday to reports that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire, commending his time on the bench and promising to confirm President Biden's nominated replacement "with all deliberate speed."

Why it matters: The opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court justice will be one of the longest-lasting pieces of Biden's legacy and could energize Democrats ahead of the midterms.