Texas federal judge rejects Biden’s offer to forgive student loans
President Joe Biden‘s student loan forgiveness proposal was already on hold when the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals imposed a temporary stay last month. On Thursday, a federal court in Texas rejected the proposal.
In October, the Job Creators Network Foundation, a conservative organization, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Fort Worth, alleging that the Biden administration had broken the law by not seeking public feedback on the initiative.
Two debtors were named in the lawsuit: one who was reportedly ineligible for the relief, and another who was supposedly not eligible for the whole $20,000 in debt forgiveness. The lawsuit asserts that by denying borrowers the chance to voice their concerns publicly prior to the program’s introduction, the Biden administration broke federal regulations.
The programme was deemed “illegal” by U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, who was chosen by former President Donald Trump, citing the 2002 Higher Education Relief Opportunities For Students Act (HEROES), which grants the Education Department the authority to offer exceptions to beneficiaries of financial aid.
This case concerns whether Congress has the right to authorise the secretary of education to pursue a programme that forgives millions of student loan borrowers a combined $400 billion in debt, Pittman said in his decision. And after interpreting the HEROES Act, the Court decides that the programme the secretary has proposed does not have “clear congressional authorisation.”
The Justice Department declared that it would challenge the judgement. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement late Thursday night stating that “we strongly disagree” with the decision.
The statement said, in part, that “the president and this administration are dedicated to helping to work and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents – supported by extremist Republican special interests – sued to prohibit millions of Americans from receiving much-needed relief.”
The programme run by the Biden administration was first introduced in October, and Thursday’s order is the most recent in a string of court challenges. Last week, the White House announced that nearly 26 million Americans had sent the Department of Education information in order to potentially have their debt erased.
Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, said in a statement after the decision that the finding “protects the rule of law, which ensures that all Americans have their views heard by their federal government.”
“The real problem of exorbitant tuition is selfish and bloated universities that raise tuition far higher than inflation year after year while sitting on $700 billion in endowments. This planned illegal student loan bailout would have done nothing to alleviate this issue. We anticipate that the court’s ruling today will pave the way for effective approaches to the student debt dilemma.”
The debt relief programme, which can forgive up to $20,000 of debt for Americans making less than $125,000 per individual or $250,000 per couple, was unveiled by Mr Biden in August.
In response to an emergency request filed by attorneys for several Republican-led states after a lower court found that their September lawsuit to block the debt forgiveness programme lacked standing, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in October temporarily halted the programme.