Federal judge strikes down Biden student debt relief program

On Thursday, a federal judge declared President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan illegal.
Trump appointee District Judge Mark Pittman ruled that the program, which would have offered borrowers up to $20,000 in relief from student loans, was an “unconstitutional exercise by Congress’s legislative power.”
Biden’s administration has claimed that student loans can be forgiven under the Higher Education Relief Opportunity for Students Act 2003. Pittman, however, rejected the argument and found no clear congressional authorization for the program.
This ruling is in response to a suit filed by the Job Creators Network Foundation (a conservative advocacy group) in October on behalf of one borrower who was not eligible for the relief program and another that is not eligible for the full $22,000
They argued that the Department of Education failed to provide public notice and comment about the program, and that the agency lacked the authority under the HEROES Act to forgive student loans.
The Department of Education is technically an agency and therefore has the authority to make rules. Pittman found that student loan forgiveness has huge “economical and political significance” and that the agency must show Congress that they have authorization to make rules for the program. He ruled that it didn’t.
Pittman stated in the ruling that “Whether the Program constitutes a good public policy isn’t the role of the Court to decide.” “But, it cannot be denied that the Program is either the largest delegation of legislative power to executive branch or the largest exercise of legislative power without congressional authorization in the history the United States.”
Thursday’s ruling is the most significant victory for conservative opponents to the Biden administration’s debt relief program.
In response to six GOP-led states’ challenges, a federal appeals court temporarily halted the program in October. The appeals court’s ruling did not stop the program, but it was a temporary one. This was in response to six challenges by GOP-led states.
Biden’s debt relief program would forgive student loans up to $10,000 for borrowers with incomes below $125,000, and up to $20,000 for those who have received Pell Grants.