Federal Court Strikes Down Biden’s Student Loan Proposal

[Photo Credit: By Palácio do Planalto from Brasilia, Brasil - 09/06/2022 Encontro com o Presidente dos Estados Unidos da América, Senhor Joe Biden, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=119127158]

On Monday, the United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide injunction on President Joe Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness scheme, adding to prior legal action against the initiative, in what amounted to a major blow against one of the White House’s key initiatives.

The program seeks to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for individuals earning less than $125,000 and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, with the Biden administration making the dubious claim that it has the authority to implement the program under the HEROES Act of 2003 and an emergency situation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a lawsuit brought by two individuals with student debts, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled Thursday that the student debt forgiveness program is unconstitutional. He said that the HEROES Act lacked the “clear congressional authorisation” required for the administration to carry out the program unilaterally.

Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina sued the Biden administration over the program in late September, and the court imposed a stay on the debt cancellation last month before granted an emergency petition for the injunction on Monday.

The court determined that the scheme would hurt Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), giving Missouri grounds to sue.

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