Americans with student loan debt will not be forced to make payments through August under a plan announced on Tuesday by President Joe Biden, who said the timeline would give the Supreme Court a chance to hear a challenge to his policy.
The Biden administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to lift a lower court’s order blocking his plan to pass billions of dollars in student debt on to taxpayers in a challenge brought by six Republican-led states.
Biden said on Twitter the pause in student debt repayments would be extended while the case is pending, potentially until June 30. The U.S. Education Department announced payments would resume 60 days after, which could be until late August.
Biden announced in August that the U.S. government would forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 a year, or $250,000 for married couples, but the order was met with resistance from conservatives who noted that the debt was not forgiven but rather passed on to those who had already repaid their loans or never took out loans.
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) voiced this concern on Twitter, saying that the “perpetual ‘pause’ of student loan payments puts taxpayers on the hook for billions.”
Biden's perpetual "pause" of student loan payments puts taxpayers on the hook for billions.
And those who didn't go to college will be hardest hit.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) November 23, 2022
The Congressional Budget Office in September calculated that the “debt forgiveness” plan would cost the government about $400 billion, adding more debt to an already sky-high inflation problem.
“I’m confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it’s on hold because Republican officials want to block it,” the U.S. president said on Tuesday.
I'm confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it’s on hold because Republican officials want to block it.
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 22, 2022
Virginia Congressman Ben Cline said that “Biden is thumbing his nose” at Congress through the move by ignoring the court’s order:
In violation of the federal court’s ruling, the Biden admin is moving ahead w/ their unconstitutional student loan bailout. By willfully ignoring the courts, Biden is thumbing his nose at the Constitutional role Congress plays, which has sadly become the norm for this president.
The policy fulfilled a promise that the Democratic president made during the 2020 presidential campaign to help debt-saddled former college students.
Separately, the government is contesting another ruling by a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, that also threatens the debt-relief program. U.S. Judge Mark Pittman on Nov. 10 found the program unlawful.
The administration stopped taking applications for student debt relief after Pittman’s decision.
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters. Additions and edits for FISM News by Michael Cardinal