Federal Court Strikes Down Clearly Illegal Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Program Two Days after Election that Saw 65% of 18-29 Year Olds Vote Democrat!
by Michael Stratford, Politico, November 11, 2022
A federal judge in Texas has struck down President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program, dealing the most serious blow yet to the administration’s efforts to cancel student loans for millions of Americans.
U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointee, ruled on Thursday that Biden’s debt relief program is “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated.”
The Education Department had already been prohibited from moving ahead with Biden’s student debt relief program under a temporary order from a federal appeals court in a separate case.
But the latest decision goes much further in permanently prohibiting the Education Department from carrying out the entire program.
The Biden administration moved swiftly on Thursday evening to file an appeal. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that administration officials “strongly disagree” with the ruling and would continue to defend the debt relief program in court.
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“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,” she said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear whether the department would be forced to stop accepting new applications for the debt relief program because of the decision.
The Biden administration has approved 16 million applications for student debt relief, according to the department. Many of those decisions have been sent to the agency’s contracted loan servicers, which have been instructed to hold off on reducing borrowers’ loan accounts amid the legal fights.
Jean-Pierre said that the Education Department would “hold onto” the information it has for 26 million borrowers who already applied for debt relief or were identified by the agency as automatically eligible, “so it can quickly process their relief once we prevail in court.”
The new legal roadblock for the Biden administration comes a day after the president credited student debt relief as one of the issues that drove high voter turnout from young voters for Democrats during this week’s midterm elections.
“I especially want to thank the young people of this nation,” Biden said, adding that they “voted in historic numbers.” Those young voters, he said, “voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms and the student debt relief.”
The ruling throws the debt relief program into uncertainty just weeks ahead of the Georgia run-off election in December that could end up deciding control of the Senate. Debt relief was already a point of contention between Sen. Rafael Warnock, who campaigned on the issue, and Herschel Walker, who criticized the Biden’s program as a handout for people who don’t need it.
After student loan forgiveness, 73% of borrowers plan to spend more on travel and dining out
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Pittman as a “MAGA judge” who is “siding with the special interests over what’s best for the people.” He added: “This is why we need a Senate Democratic Majority.”
Conservatives, meanwhile, praised the decision. Rep. Virginia Foxx, the top GOP lawmaker on the House education committee, said in a statement that Biden’s “radical scheme must be eviscerated entirely, and Republicans will continue to support legal challenges to achieve that end.”
In his 26-page decision, Judge Pittman rejected the Biden administration’s argument that it has the authority to cancel student loans under a 2003 law, known as the HEROES Act, which grants special powers to the Education Department during national emergencies.
“Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine,” Pittman wrote. “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.”
His ruling sided with a conservative advocacy group, the Job Creators Network Foundation, which had sued to stop the policy on behalf of two student loan borrowers who were left out of the program or would not qualify for the full $20,000 of forgiveness.