According to the Department of Justice’s most recent court filing, the Biden administration intends to ask the Supreme Court to reinstate its student debt relief plan.
This decision comes after an appeals court and a lower court decision blocked the president’s program to forgive up to $20,000 of debt for millions of borrowers, according to The Washington Examiner.
In a court document filed on Thursday, the DOJ previewed its plans to ask the Supreme Court to overturn an injunction issued earlier this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which prevented the administration from implementing the debt forgiveness policy. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the program’s cost over the next 30 years will be close to $400 billion.
Separately, the agency is pleading with the 5th Circuit to reverse a Texas trial court judge’s earlier determination that the plan was “illegal.” According to court papers, the DOJ specifically asked the appeals court to rule by December 1 “to permit the government to seek relief from the Supreme Court” if necessary.
The administration stated in its brief that continuing to delay the debt relief plan would force the federal government to make a “unnecessarily risky option.” Tens of millions of Americans who were promised debt relief may be obliged to pay the tab for their outstanding federal college debt if mandated debt payments resume on January 1 according to the current schedule, despite having been promised debt relief.
However, according to the nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, if the Biden administration prolongs the payment halt, it might “cost an extra $120 billion,” disproportionately benefit high-income people, and increase the danger of recession.
The Education Department has recently warned that default rates might skyrocket if President Joe Biden’s plan is rejected, claiming that the debt relief would enable borrowers to save an average of up to $300 per month.
“We anticipate there could be an historically large increase in the amount of federal student loan delinquency and defaults as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Education Undersecretary James Kvaal wrote in a Tuesday filing. “This could result in one of the harms that the one-time student loan debt relief program was intended to avoid,” the filing went on.
Biden hit with brutal news
When the Biden administration unveiled the debt relief plan in August, it stepped on a legal minefield and has since been hit with a barrage of lawsuits from conservative and libertarian legal organizations, who claim the administration is wrong to defend its expansive relief plan under the 2003 HEROES Act.
Due to a lack of legal standing to argue that the debt relief program has harmed plaintiffs contesting the policy, a large portion of lawsuits against the program has been dismissed. For instance, Amy Coney Barrett of the Supreme Court has already twice dismissed emergency appeals from different cases, presumably without the other eight justices’ further review.
In its most recent filing on Thursday, the DOJ requested that the 5th Circuit overturn a ruling made last week by former President Donald Trump’s appointee, Texas District Judge Mark Pittman, who found that the administration had overstepped its bounds and taken legislative authority over certain policies into its own hands.
For those making less than $125,000 or living in households making less than $250,000, Biden’s proposal would cancel $10,000 in student loan debt. Receivers of Pell Grants would also be eligible for an additional $10,000 in debt relief.