Biden’s federal loan forgiveness plan has been blocked by a federal judge in Texas
Aon Thursday blocked President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which was already on hold after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued last month.
A conservative group called the Job Creators Network Foundation filed suit in federal court in Fort Worth in October, alleging that the Biden administration violated federal procedures by not seeking public input on the program. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two borrowers — one who allegedly did not qualify for relief and another who allegedly did not qualify for the maximum $20,000 in debt forgiveness. The lawsuit alleges that the Biden administration violated federal procedures by denying borrowers the opportunity to provide public comment before the program debuted.
U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, appointed by former President Donald Trump, declared the program “unlawful,” citing the Higher Education Assistance Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act of 2002, which gives the Department of Education the ability to grant waivers to recipients financial assistance.
“This case involves the question of whether Congress — through the HEROES Act — provided a secretary [of Education] authority to implement a program that provides debt forgiveness to millions of student loan borrowers, totaling over $400 billion,” Pittman wrote in his ruling. “And after construing the HERO Act, the Court finds that it does not provide “clear authority of Congress ‘ for the program proposed by the Secretary.”
The Ministry of Justice said it would appeal the decision.
“We strongly disagree” with the ruling, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement late Thursday.
“The president and this administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents — backed by extreme Republican special interests — have sued to prevent millions of Americans from receiving much-needed aid,” the statement read in part. .
Thursday’s order is the latest in a series of legal challenges to the Biden administration’s program, which was launched in October. The The White House said last week that nearly 26 million Americans submitted information to the Department of Education to potentially have their debt forgiven.
“This ruling protects the rule of law that requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government,” Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, said in a statement after the ruling. “This attempt at an illegal student loan bailout would do nothing to address the root cause of unaffordable tuition: greedy and bloated colleges that raise tuition far above inflation year after year while sitting on $700 billion in endowments. We hope the court’s decision today will lay the groundwork for real solutions to the student loan crisis.”
Mr. Biden announced a debt relief plan in August that would forgive up to $20,000 of debt for Americans earning less than $125,000 as a single person or $250,000 as a couple.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals placed a temporary stay on the program in October in response to an emergency request filed by several Republican-led state attorneys general after a lower court ruled thatto stop the debt forgiveness program had no status.
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