Dems ‘Celebrating their Own Institutional Obsolescence,’ Jonathan Turley Warns

Democrats may not realize it, but those advocating for Joe Biden’s plan to transfer debt of up to $10,000 or $20,000 from each student loan borrower to taxpayers is just one more step in making Congress obsolescent.

That’s the warning from accomplished law professor and constitutional expert Jonathan Turley.

“Putting the merits of such debt forgiveness aside, the unilateral plan to waive up to a trillion dollars without congressional approval is a dangerous and unconstitutional violate of our system of the separation of powers,” he said. “Those Democrats applauding this plan in Congress are celebrating their own institutional obsolescence.”

The Congressional Research Service explains that the Constitution gives Congress the “power of the purse” by prohibiting expenditures “but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

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Turley explained, “the alleged cost of $300 billion for the Biden tuition debt forgiveness plan was challenged by the White House as too high. Then the figure went up to $500 billion. Now the respected University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business estimates that it will cost up to $1 trillion.”

“What is so troubling is that not only did Biden circumvent Congress with the constitutional control of the purse, but this plan has divided the nation. While supported by a majority, there is intense opposition to the plan and its costs. The polling also shows conflicting concerns and support from the public as they learn more about the plan,” he wrote, noting an Emerson College poll that found 36% believe the handout is too might, while 30% say it’s not enough.

Then there are questions about how many will be helped to gain college training, its impact on inflation, and whether it would help to make college more affordable.

“This is precisely what congressional action is meant to address in vetting ideas and the costs of such ideas. Instead, we are scrambling to learn the costs and expected impact after it is already approved by unilateral action of the president,” Turley said.

He pointed out Democrats like Sen. Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, have been wanting Biden to grab such power and transfer debts from students to taxpayers for some time.

“When Madison described the essence of his constitutional vision of the separation of powers in Federalist 51, he declared ‘Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,'” Turley said. “No branch is supposed to have enough power to govern alone. Once power becomes concentrated in the hands of a president, citizens are left only with the assurance that such unchecked power will be used wisely – a Faustian bargain the framers repeatedly warned us never to accept.”

He noted Barack Obama created a surge in the move to empower a president with congressional authority when he “announced that he intended to go it alone in achieving his policy goals, refusing to yield to the actions of Congress.”

Now Congress is applauding “a president waiving a trillion dollars unilaterally because he knew that he could not get such a massive waiver from Congress. It is precisely what the Framers sought to avoid in a system of shared powers.”

 

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