BREAKING: Federal Appeals Court Blocks Biden Administration Loan Forgiveness Program Temporarily

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Update (November 11th, 12 PM EST):  Texas U.S. District Court Judge Mark Pittman blocked the Biden Administration’s Student Debt Forgiveness Program Thursday afternoon. Pillman, a Trump court appointee, ruled on the grounds that the administration doesn’t have the authority to do this legislative action.

Pillman wrote about his ruling, “In this case, the HEROES Act – a law to provide loan assistance to military personnel defending our nation – does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program,”

The Biden Administration has appealed this decision and put a notice on the Federal Student Aid website that was accepting applications for loan forgiveness.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement on Twitter about the decision.

As we wrote about in the original reporting on this article, the Biden Administration is citing the 2003 HEROES act as the basis in which they cancelling $10,000 of Federal Student Loan debt ($20,000 for Pell Grant Recipients). Specific verbiage from the HEROES Act is below.

MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE GENERAL COUNSEL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-76, 117 Stat. 904 (2003) (codified at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1098aa–1098ee) (“HEROES Act of 2003,” or “HEROES Act”), vests the Secretary of Education (“Secretary”) with expansive authority to alleviate the hardship that federal student loan recipients may suffer as a result of national emergencies. The Act provides that the Secretary may “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to” federal student loan programs if the Secretary “deems” such actions “necessary to ensure that” certain statutory objectives are achieved. 20 U.S.C. § 1098bb(a)(1)–(2).

Read our original reporting on the Federal Appeals Court block of the Biden Administration Student Loan Forgiveness Program Below.

Hours after President Joe Biden spoke about the launch of the Student Loan Forgiveness Program at Delaware State University, reports surfaced from several outlets that a US Appeals Court blocked the plan. CNN reports that a judge dismissed a Republican-led lawsuit by six that challenged the Loan Forgiveness program on Thursday, citing that the plaintiffs don’t have the legal standing to bring about a challenge.

However, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was granted an emergency stay preventing the removal of any student debt by the program until the states rule on a longer-term injunction as they appeal the Thursday ruling. The loan forgiveness program also faced a challenge from the conservative Wisconsin taxpayer group Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected the challenge, signaling a win for the Biden administration at that time.

The White House has already responded to the pause. White House Press Secretary Jean Pierre-Paul said, “Tonight’s temporary order does not prevent borrowers from applying for student debt relief at studentaid.gov – and we encourage eligible borrowers to join the nearly 22 million Americans whose information the Department of Education already has. It also does not prevent us from reviewing these applications and preparing them for transmission to loan servicers.”

Republican detractors of the Biden Administration’s Student Loan Forgiveness program challenge the President’s authority to widely cancel student debt. However, as we reported on in our original article about the announcement of the program, Congress gave the Secretary Of Education the power to remove debt from borrowers in a law passed in 2003 called the HEROES Act. The verbiage of the HEROS Act is below. The full document is linked here. 

 

 

MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE GENERAL COUNSEL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-76, 117 Stat. 904 (2003) (codified at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1098aa–1098ee) (“HEROES Act of 2003,” or “HEROES Act”), vests the Secretary of Education (“Secretary”) with expansive authority to alleviate the hardship that federal student loan recipients may suffer as a result of national emergencies. The Act provides that the Secretary may “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to” federal student loan programs if the Secretary “deems” such actions “necessary to ensure that” certain statutory objectives are achieved. 20 U.S.C. § 1098bb(a)(1)–(2).

We will continue to update you on this story as more information is presented.

 

 

 

 

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