Biden admin unveils new unilateral plan to cancel tens of billions in student loan debt for borrowers

 July 15, 2023

President Joe Biden and his administration have made it abundantly clear that they have no respect whatsoever for the Supreme Court and its rulings that get in the way of their leftist agenda-driven and fiscally irresponsible plans and policies.

That was proven once again on Friday when Biden and his Education Department announced yet another unilateral effort to cancel tens of billions of dollars in student loan debt for hundreds of thousands of borrowers, according to the New York Post.

The announcement was essentially a defiant middle finger to the nation's highest court, which just two weeks earlier had struck down as illegal and unconstitutional an admittedly larger "debt forgiveness" plan that would have, at taxpayer's expense, wiped away more than $400 billion in outstanding student loan debt for tens of millions of borrowers.

Counting non-payments as payments toward forgiveness

On Friday, the Department of Education announced that it had made "fixes" to what is known as "income-driven repayment" plans, or IDRs, in terms of achieving an "accurate count" of the number of months of student loan repayments that would count toward eligibility for "automatic loan forgiveness" after a set period of time -- typically 20 or 25 years, depending upon the type of loan and when it was first received.

Those "fixes" would include now counting as credit toward forgiveness any months in which late or partial payments were made, months when no payments were made during periods when loans were in "forbearance" for 12 consecutive months or 36 months cumulatively, or months when loans were in deferment prior to 2013 or economic hardship after 2013 -- among other tweaks that Congress never authorized.

"For far too long, borrowers fell through the cracks of a broken system that failed to keep accurate track of their progress towards forgiveness," Education Sec. Miguel Cardona said in a statement. "Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking another historic step to right these wrongs and announcing $39 billion in debt relief for another 804,000 borrowers."

"By fixing past administrative failures, we are ensuring everyone gets the forgiveness they deserve, just as we have done for public servants, students who were cheated by their colleges, and borrowers with permanent disabilities, including veterans," the secretary added. "This Administration will not stop fighting to level the playing field in higher education."

Biden heralds latest unilateral action, chides Supreme Court and Republican objections

"Starting today, over 800,000 student loan borrowers who have been repaying their loans for 20 years or more will see $39 billion of their loans discharged because of steps my Administration took to fix failures of the past," President Biden said in a Friday statement. "These borrowers will join the millions of people that my Administration has provided relief to over the past two years -- resulting in over $116 billion in loan relief to over 3 million borrowers under my Administration."

"My Administration has worked hard to secure the largest increases to Pell Grants in a decade, fixed broken loan programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and created a new income-driven repayment plan that will cut undergraduate loan payments in half and bring monthly payments to zero for low-income borrowers," the president bragged. "And, when the Supreme Court made the wrong decision, I immediately announced a new plan to open an alternative path to relief for as many borrowers as possible, as soon as possible."

Biden then went on to accuse Republicans of being heartless and hypocritical for objecting to his unconstitutional unilateral efforts to erase student loan debts at taxpayer expense and gallingly conflated student loans, which borrowers voluntarily agreed to repay when first received, with the pandemic-era relief loans that from the start were intended to be forgiven in short order if certain conditions were met.

A "blatantly political attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court"

In response to the new debt forgiveness plan announced by the Biden administration, House Education and Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said in a press release, "The Biden administration’s blatantly political attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court is shameful. The Biden administration is trampling the rule of law, hurting borrowers, and abusing taxpayers to chase headlines."

"Biden’s student loan scam is far from over. From day one, this administration has encouraged borrowers not to repay their loans and has expected taxpayers to foot the bill," she continued. "Today’s celebration of counting no payments as payments is just the latest example of the ongoing delusion at the White House."

"Taxpayers should be enraged but not surprised. Don’t forget, this is the same agency that was called out for using cost estimates that weren’t grounded in reality," the Republican chairwoman added. "This president is dead set on ruining our postsecondary education financing system for a few votes next November, taxpayers and the rule of law be damned."

It is unclear what, if anything, the committee intends to do to counter the Biden administration's "illegal and unilateral actions to cancel loans for more than 800,000 borrowers," but it is a safe bet that, like the prior efforts to broadly cancel student loan debt without explicit congressional authorization, this latest gambit will be met with lawsuits to block and overturn it in the near future.

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