Biden is pushing ahead with student loan forgiveness despite Supreme Court ruling

 April 7, 2024

America's highest judicial body dealt a blow to President Joe Biden last year when it ruled that his plan to offload more than $400 billion worth of student loan debt onto taxpayers was unconstitutional.

Yet according to the Wall Street Journal, Biden is looking for another path to defy the Supreme Court's decision. 

Biden attempted to make use of 9/11-era law

The Journal recalled how Biden's earlier proposal would have discharged up to $20,000 worth of student debt for each borrower earning less than $125,000 a year.

That plan would have bailed out some 40 million Americans using a piece of legislation known as the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act.

As The New York Times explained, the law was passed following the September 11 attacks and it empowered the education secretary to "waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision" in order to help borrowers who had been impacted by terrorism.

The legislation was amended to also cover those affected by "a war or other military operation or national emergency."

Administration has sights set on legislation from 1965

This change allowed then-President Donald Trump to pause student loan repayment requirements and the accrual of interest during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Trump's successor sought to use the HEROES Act to wipe out debt entirely, the Supreme Court said this was beyond what the law permitted.

Now Biden is expected to outline a new plan this week which will also cover 40 million borrowers using the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The Journal noted how the administration is facing pushback from a coalition of Republican state attorneys general who signaled this past Friday that they will be fighting in court.

Plan said to violate separation of powers doctrine

A spokesperson for Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen was quoted as  saying, "It appears that the proposal will be another attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court's initial ruling to help the President garner votes in November."

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also spoke up in a statement of her own, complaining that in addition to being "unfair," the president's plan also "violates the separation of powers."

"[A]s hard-working Americans struggle to buy groceries, Biden thumbs his nose at the court like he has done with so many issues, including immigration, and does what he wants," she added.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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