Since he first announced the student loan relief program, Biden has faced an uphill battle in bringing it to fruition. Now a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, has ruled that the debt relief plan is “unlawful.”
A lawsuit was filed by the Job Creators Network Foundation in October on behalf of an individual who was not able to qualify for the full $20,000 of relief and another individual who is ineligible for the program.
The people who are challenging the program are saying that the administration “violated federal procedures” by denying borrowers the opportunity to give public comments on the plan before it was unveiled.
The Texas judge who handed down the ruling, Mark Pittman, ruled the program “unlawful.”
“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.”
Within a few hours, the Justice Department had filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre weighed in on the ruling as well.
“We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal. 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.”
“For the 26 million borrowers who have already given the Department of Education the necessary information to be considered for debt relief — 16 million of whom have already been approved for relief — the Department will hold onto their information so it can quickly process their relief once we prevail in court,” she added. “We will never stop fighting for hardworking Americans most in need — no matter how many roadblocks our opponents and special interests try to put in our way.”
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Not The First Time
This lawsuit isn’t the only one that the Biden Administration is dealing with. Six Republican-led states sued over the program, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ended up granting a stay against the program.
Several other lawsuits have been filed as well. Plaintiffs from Wisconsin and Indiana filed emergency applications to the Supreme Court, but the cases were dismissed. In lower courts across the country, similar cases are ongoing.
In the case overseen by Judge Pittman, the plaintiffs claimed that Biden made “arbitrary decisions” about who would qualify for the plan as well as how much of their balances would be canceled under the program.
Alexander Taylor is one of the plaintiffs in the case. He is under the income threshold and is eligible to receive $10,000 in relief. He says that he sued because he never received a Pell Grant, which is a form of federal aid for low-income borrowers, and so he does not meet the requirements for $20,000 in relief.
In response to the complaint, the Justice Department claimed that the 2003 statute used by the Biden Administration to implement the debt relief plan “does not require notice or comment.”
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