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Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Department of Education on Tuesday expanded relief, including a pause on student loan interest accrual and collections, to more than 1.14 million borrowers in default.

Why it matters: Defaulted loans under the Federal Family Education Loan program, which are guaranteed by the U.S. government but held by private entities, had been ineligible for the COVID-related relief.

  • That relief, first implemented by the Trump administration last year and later extended by the Biden administration, has helped tens of millions of borrowers handle the financial strain brought on by coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Education Department said Tuesday's move will "protect more than 800,000 borrowers who were at risk of having their federal tax refunds seized to repay a defaulted loan."

What they're saying: “At a time when many student loan borrowers have faced economic uncertainty, we’re ensuring that relief already provided to borrowers of loans held by the Department is available to more borrowers who need the same help so they can focus on meeting their basic needs,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.

  • “Our goal is to enable these borrowers who are struggling in default to get the same protections previously made available to tens of millions of other borrowers to help weather the uncertainty of the pandemic.”

Go deeper:

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Biden admin grants Colonial waiver to ease fuel shortages

Fuel tanks at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration approved a temporary waiver of shipping requirements late Wednesday to help Colonial Pipeline transport fuel, as service resumes across the U.S. following a ransomware attack that that took it offline last week.

Why it matters: The century-old Jones Act requires ships to be built in the U.S. and crewed by American workers, but the waiver means foreign companies can transport gasoline and diesel to areas where there are fuel shortages.

Updated 57 mins ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Smoke and flames rise after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Gaza on May 13, 2021. Israeli forces said on May 12 they had killed a senior Hamas commander and bombed several buildings. Gaza's health ministry has said children are among the dead. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 continued into early Thursday. It come days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Don McGahn agrees to closed-door interview with House panel on Russia report

Former White House counsel Don McGahn during a discussion at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed Wednesday to speak with the House Judiciary Committee about former President Trump's alleged attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation — with certain conditions, per a court filing.

Why it matters: The agreement ends a two-year standoff after McGahn, a key player in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, repeatedly refused to agree to a subpoena for testimony — resulting in the matter being taken to court.