While millions of low-income earning Americans have already received correspondence to begin applying for federal student loan forgiveness, six Republican states are joining a lawsuit to stop it. As ABC News notes, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina have joined with Arkansas to sue the Biden administration, saying the president’s plan oversteps his executive powers.
Back in August, President Biden had announced his long-awaited decision where his administration said they would cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 or households with less than $250,000 in income.
There has been a recent change to this guidance as of yesterday. The Education Department states borrowers with federal loans owned by private banks, including the FFEL program and Perkins loans, will now be ineligible unless they already consolidated their loans into the government’s direct lending program before Thursday.
As ABC news points out, the Biden administration draws from a post-Sept. 11, 2001, law meant to help military members that the Justice Department says allows Biden to reduce or erase student loan debt during a national emergency. However, Republican states are crying foul, arguing Biden’s plan is “not remotely tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers.” Missouri explicitly claims that its primary loan servicer will suffer much financial harm from the move.
“It’s patently unfair to saddle hard-working Americans with the loan debt of those who chose to go to college,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who is leading the group, said in an interview.
She added: “The Department of Education is required, under the law, to collect the balance due on loans. And President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”
There are also legal questions where Republican state representatives have been using Biden’s 60 Minutes interview where he stated the “pandemic is over” to argue there is no longer a national emergency for the President to use these powers. The Biden administration anticipated legal challenges when this was announced. Thus, White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan reaffirms the White House is all in to continue student loan forgiveness as scheduled.
“Republican officials from these six states are standing with special interests and fighting to stop relief for borrowers buried under mountains of debt,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said Thursday. “The president and his administration are lawfully giving working and middle-class families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and prepare to resume loan payments in January. ”