ICYMI: Biden Lacks Legal Rationale to Push Student Loan Scheme, Says Chairwoman Foxx
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 10, 2023
President Biden continues to use the COVID-19 pandemic as the justification behind implementing his student loan bailout scheme. The same pandemic he claims is “over.” Every dollar that the Biden administration “forgives” or “cancels” is simply transferred from those who willingly took on this student loan debt to those who did not.
In Case You Missed It, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) spoke with The Wall Street Journal this week to weigh in on President Biden’s illegal student loan bailout as the Supreme Court prepares to hear the case.
Student-Loan Forgiveness Risks Losing a Rationale as Biden Ends Pandemic Emergency
By Gabriel T. Rubin
February 10, 2023
The Biden administration’s decision to end the Covid-19 national emergency declaration could undermine a central justification for its student-debt forgiveness plan as the Supreme Court prepares to decide the fate of the program.
Mr. Biden outlined a plan in August to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers making under $125,000 a year. Unable to pass the plan in Congress, the White House relied on expanded executive powers tied to the emergency declaration to enact the plan, and Mr. Biden said his intent was to “address the financial harms of the pandemic.”
Individual borrowers backed by conservative groups also sued, arguing they didn’t have a chance to weigh in on the forgiveness program’s eligibility criteria. Lower courts blocked the plan from being implemented. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on Feb. 28, with a ruling expected by this summer.
Last month the White House said it would end a national emergency and a public-health emergency declaration for Covid-19 on May 11. Administration lawyers have said that ending the emergency would have no bearing on the Supreme Court case over student debt cancellation, since the program is intended to redress harms that were caused by the pandemic and its related economic disruptions.
Opponents of the plan, including the new House Republican majority, have taken aim at what they see as a disconnect between the administration’s rosy depictions of a strong economy that has emerged from the pandemic, and the need for more pandemic-related aid when other programs have been discontinued.
“The Biden administration talks out of both sides of its mouth,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. “Why is it necessary to do that when things are so great in the economy?”
At issue is the use of executive authority under the Heroes Act, first passed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which allowed the education secretary to modify federal student loan programs for those affected by the attacks. The law was expanded in 2003 to allow the Education Department to provide relief for borrowers affected by military operations or national emergencies, as the secretary deems necessary.
Critics of the administration’s legal tactics say the law is a backdoor justification for a policy Mr. Biden wanted, regardless of the pandemic. That is particularly galling, they say, when Mr. Biden is citing economic news such as a half-century low unemployment rate. “We’re better positioned than any country on Earth right now,” Mr. Biden said Tuesday during his State of the Union address.
“The reason it’s the last one left is because it’s purely for legal purposes and they need a justification,” said Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and an opponent of mass debt cancellation. If borrowers face difficulties returning to repayment, he said, that would be the result of the repeated extensions of the pause that have left borrowers out of practice with loan payments for which they may not be budgeting.
Read the full article here.