OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Biden administration has run into another legal roadblock regarding its student loan forgiveness program, and as such, has made a crucial decision about its future. After another federal court blocked the program from taking effect last week, the Department of Education is no longer accepting applications for student loan forgiveness.
“Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program,” the Education Department said on its federal student aid website. “As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders.”
In August, President Joe Biden announced the program, which sought to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt to certain applicants making less than $125,000 a year and $20,000 for couples earning less than $250,000. The White House, which estimated that some 40 million people could qualify, was accused by Republicans of political pandering ahead of the midterms.
On Thursday, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas struck down President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan late on Thursday and issued a blistering opinion.
United States District Judge Pittman sounded off in his opinion, writing: “In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government.
“The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved. And having interpreted the HEROES Act, the Court holds that it does not provide ‘clear congressional authorization’ for the Program proposed by the Secretary,” Pittman noted further.
“Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine. Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the
United States,” Pittman wrote.
Elaine Parker, President of Job Creators Network Foundation, which brought the lawsuit, praised the ruling.
“The court has correctly ruled in favor of our motion and deemed the Biden student loan program illegal. The judge criticized the Biden Administration program, calling it ‘one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.’ This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government,” Parker said.
“This attempted illegal student loan bailout would have done nothing to address the root cause of unaffordable tuition: greedy and bloated colleges that raise tuition far more than inflation year after year while sitting on $700 billion in endowments. We hope that the court’s decision today will lay the groundwork for real solutions to the student loan crisis,” Parker added.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took to Twitter after the ruling and revealed the U.S. Department of Justice filed an appeal.
“We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal. @POTUS 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 – sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief,” Jean-Pierre said in a pair of tweets.
.@POTUS 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 – sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) November 11, 2022
“For the 26 million borrowers who’ve given @usedgov the necessary information to be considered for debt relief – 16 million of whom have already been approved for relief – the Department will hold onto their info, so it can quickly process their relief once we prevail in court. We will never stop fighting for hardworking Americans most in need – no matter how many roadblocks our opponents and special interests try to put in our way,” she added in two additional tweets.
We will never stop fighting for hardworking Americans most in need – no matter how many roadblocks our opponents and special interests try to put in our way.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) November 11, 2022
Earlier this month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett turned down another challenge to Biden’s student loan handout.
The justice’s short decision last Friday came amid several lawsuits challenging the loan forgiveness plan as unconstitutional.
“Experts believe that one challenge – brought by six states – will likely eventually make it to the high court because it has the fewest procedural hurdles. That case is currently before the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has issued an administrative stay of the program while it considers the states’ request for a preliminary injunction,” the outlet reported.