President Joe Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan has been struck down by a judge and applications are no longer being accepted.
- President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday, August 24 offering up to $20,000 in student-loan forgiveness.
- The plan benefits individuals with income less than $125,000 per year and reduces the outstanding $1.5 trillion in debt hampering the lower and middle classes.
- The executive order has faced numerous legal challenges, including lawsuits from Indiana, Texas, and other states. And 22 governors also protested the order in a letter.
- The order was already partially scaled back in late September in response to legal challenges.
- Texas federal judge Mark Pittman struck down the order on Thursday—citing a lack of legislative approval and abuse of executive power in a 26-page opinion.
- The Biden administration has announced that it is not taking any more applications for loan forgiveness.
Why it’s News
Judge Pittman’s order could be a deathblow to one of President Biden’s most popular moves in office. The Justice Department is going to appeal Judge Pitman’s decision and the White House is planning its next moves.
“The administration has contended that the president is on solid legal ground to use his executive authority to forgive student loans, pointing to the 2003 federal statute known as the HEROES Act, which gives the head of the Education Department the capability to waive or modify federal student-loan provisions during war or a national emergency,” says The Wall Street Journal.
“[The law] does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program,” says Pittman.
Backing up a Bit
Partisan politics play a role in the strike down as well. Judge Pittman was an appointee of former President Donald Trump and the executive order’s loudest critics are Republican Governors and Congressmen.
President Biden’s executive order was also made three months before a midterm election, in which Democrats could benefit from the youth vote.
Notable Democrats have also criticized the executive order including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said in July 2021: “People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power.”