In an act of defiance, the Biden administration signaled that it will continue to receive and process applications for its student loan debt forgiveness program while lawsuits to stop the program are filed across the country.
NBC News reported that the Department of Education will move forward with its student loan debt forgiveness program despite the ongoing lawsuits. Biden’s Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, said that the department is “not deterred” by the lawsuits.
One of the lawsuits, filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation, challenged the Biden administration’s authority on the grounds that the administration overstepped its authority without an appropriate public comment period, as is typical for executive rulemaking.
Cardona wrote in a recent opinion editorial that the administration will be “moving full speed ahead” to implement the program even though the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the administration to halt the program until the court reaches a decision.
The editorial, in part, read, “President Biden … will never stop fighting for the millions of hardworking students and borrowers across the country — no matter how many elected officials or lawsuits try to stop us.”
The cabinet secretary called out opponents of the program along the lines of their lack of opposition against the federal government’s pandemic relief loans and the Trump tax cuts. However, Cardona failed to mention that his two examples went through proper legislative channels and were passed by Congress, which is a stark contrast to the student debt loan forgiveness program originating through executive fiat without congressional action.
As a reminder, the student loan debt forgiveness program could cost taxpayers to the tune of $500 billion or more. According to Biden’s plan, up to $20,000 of debt cancellation will be directed to Pell Grant recipients while other borrowers of federal loans qualify for up to $10,000 of debt cancellation. But the plan benefits the wealthy because the student loan debt cancelation will cover individuals making less than $125,000 in the 2020 or 2021 tax year or less than $250,000 as a couple.