EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

As rising coronavirus cases and the derailing of the Build Back Better bill dampened holiday cheer, the Biden administration made an announcement last week that inspired some hope for the new year. After sustained public pressure, it extended until May the moratorium on student loan repayments that was scheduled to end in January. With 89 percent of borrowers reporting that they are not “financially secure” enough to resume payments in the immediate future, the extension will provide vital relief.

But the move also raises the question: Why restart payments at all?

Though many of the administration’s solutions to social, environmental and health crises must be filtered through our gridlocked Congress, student debt is different. The Higher Education Act gives the administration broad authority to end the crisis—without Biden having to have Senator Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) to dinner even once.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.