In another blow to the Biden administration, President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan was deemed unlawful by a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas on Thursday. Judge Mark Pittman's ruling aligned with Job Creators Network, a conservative advocacy group that sued the Biden administration on behalf of two student loan borrowers - one of whom was ineligible for the loan forgiveness plan and a second who did not qualify for the full $20,000 forgiveness. The basis for the lawsuit was that the Biden administration violated federal law by launching the program without allowing an opportunity for borrowers to provide public comment.
In his ruling, Pittman stated, "The Constitution vests 'all legislative powers' in Congress. This power, however, can be delegated to the executive branch. But if the executive branch seeks to use that delegated power to create a law of vast economic and political significance, it must have clear congressional authorization. If not, the executive branch unconstitutionally exercises 'legislative powers' vested in Congress. In this case, the HEROES Act - a law to provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program."
Not only did Pittman state that the student loan forgiveness act violated "legislative powers" laid forth in the Constitution, but he also quoted House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who said that President Biden "does not" have "the power of debt forgiveness" and must achieve any loan forgiveness through an act of Congress.
Job Creators Network president, Elaine Parker, told the Washington Post that the decision "protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government." Parker went on to add, "This attempted illegal student loan bailout would have done nothing to address the root cause of unaffordable tuition: greedy and bloated colleges that raise tuition far more than inflation year after year while sitting on $700 billion in endowments. We hope that the court's decision today will lay the groundwork for real solutions to the student loan crisis."
Pittman's ruling Thursday was not the first time that a court had taken issue with the Student Loan Forgiveness Act with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit having previously issued an administrative stay to block the Act after another lawsuit was brought against the Biden administration in Nebraska.
In the case brought by the Job Creators Network, the DOJ has appealed Pittman's decision on behalf of the Department of Education. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona said, "We are disappointed in the decision of the Texas court to bock loan relief moving forward. Amidst efforts to block our debt relief program, we are not standing down." Cardona went on to add, "The department of Justice has appealed today's decision on our behalf, and we will continue to keep borrowers informed about our efforts to deliver targeted relief."
Former president, Donald Trump's administration and the Department of Education also considered using the HEROES Act to provide relief for student loan borrowers during the Covid-19 pandemic, but realized it did not have the authority to do it. The Biden administration, on the other hand, clearly exhibited poor judgment with its attempted power grab at the expense of the American public and the rights of Congress.
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