In an effort to fulfill a campaign pledge, President Joe Biden in August took executive action to provide some relief to borrowers with outstanding federal student loan debt.
A federal judge ruled last week that the debt relief program is unconstitutional, however, so the Biden administration has now stopped accepting applications from borrowers to be considered for the offered debt cancelation, the Conservative Brief reported.
No more applications accepted, appeal pending
It was in August that the Biden administration rolled out its new program through the Department of Education to forgive up to $10,000 for borrowers with federal student loans, and up to $20,000 for low-income borrowers who received Pell Grants, and quickly began accepting applications for relief on the Federal Student Aid website.
Now, however, at the top of that website is an alert that reads: “Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders. If you’ve already applied, we’ll hold your application.”
Coinciding with that change was a statement on Nov. 10 from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who said, “We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal.”
“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 — sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief,” the statement continued.
“For the 26 million borrowers who have already given the Department of Education 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 information so it can quickly process their relief once we prevail in court,” Jean-Pierre added.
Judge says Biden admin overstepped its bounds
According to the Conservative Brief, District Judge Mark Pittman of Texas ruled last week that the Biden administration had violated the constitutional separation of powers and overstepped its congressionally delegated authority in attempting to interpret a post-9/11 law on limited debt relief for military service members as authorizing broad relief for borrowers with federal student loans.
The judge wrote that “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.”
“Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine,” Pittman added. “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.”
“Ruling protects the rule of law” ignored by Biden administration
“The court has correctly ruled in favor of our motion and deemed the Biden student loan program illegal,” Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation that filed the lawsuit, said of the ruling. “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.”
“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,” she added.