States challenge Biden’s $400 million student loan handover to Supreme Court, calling it ‘unlawful’
The coalition of states challenging President Biden’s $400 billion student loan bailout has filed its written response with the U.S. Supreme Court after the government asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.
In court documents filed Wednesday, Nebraska and five other states argue that Biden’s invocation of a national emergency to forgive a portion of federal student loan debt is an “unlawful” abuse of the Student Opportunity Act of higher education (HEROES) of 2003. The response comes after the Biden administration last week filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court order federal lation that blocked the student loan forgiveness program.
“The Act requires a genuine connection to a national emergency. But the Department’s reliance on the COVID-19 pandemic is a pretext to mask the president’s true goal of fulfilling his campaign promise to wipe out student loan debt.” the states wrote in their answer. .
“Hiding the real reason, the agency tries to connect the cancellation to the pandemic by citing current economic conditions allegedly caused by COVID-19. But those conditions are not directly attributable to the pandemic, so the Department has been unable properly link the cancellation to the pandemic. a national emergency,” they said.
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The Biden administration now has a chance to file a final response brief, then the court will be ready to issue an order. This could happen in the next few days.
On November 18, the government filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s injunction blocking the student loan forgiveness program.
The White House argues both that the states behind the legal challenge have no real standing to make the case, and also that they would win on the merits. The federal government argues that the action is within its authority.
In its application, the Biden administration repeatedly stated that the loan forgiveness plan should be allowed to continue because borrowers are currently stuck in financial limbo.
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The administration told the court that borrowers eligible for loan forgiveness have come to expect to receive reductions of $200 to $300 in monthly payments. “However, because of the court order, borrowers most likely to default if payment obligations resume without any relief face prolonged uncertainty about the extent of their payment obligations and when these obligations will be resumed.
“As long as this uncertainty continues, many borrowers will not have the information they need to decide whether they can afford to change jobs, buy a home or car, or take on other long-term financial obligations,” the Biden administration said.
In Wednesday’s filing, the states said they would face a “wave of damages” if the requirement is lifted.
“In contrast to the Department’s absence of any immediate harm, lifting the requirement risks unleashing on States a wave of damage that could not be undone due to the ‘irreversible impact’ of the cancellation ·lation. … Given this unbalanced balance, the Court should deny the Department’s request to vacate the Eighth Circuit’s injunction,” the states wrote.
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Biden announced in August that he will give away $10,000 federal student loan debt relief for certain borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.
Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina proceeded to sue the administration, arguing that the president lacks the authority to unilaterally forgive student loans.
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The president has said he is “confident” his “student debt relief plan is legal.”
Fox News’ Brook Singman, Peter Doocy and Patrick Ward contributed to this report.