President Biden vows to retaliate after Supreme Court strikes down student debt cancellation plan

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to announce “new measures to protect student borrowers,” the White House said Friday, after the Supreme Court struck down his signature program to eliminate up to $20,000 in debt student loans for millions of Americans.

The court’s 6-3 ruling dashed the hopes of 26 million people who have applied for student loan forgiveness since Biden took the action last August, putting pressure on Biden to find a solution. other means of debt relief.

“While we strongly disagree with the court, we have prepared for this scenario. The president will have more to say today,” said a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In his Friday remarks, Biden will make it clear that “he’s not done fighting yet,” the official said, and will stress to borrowers and their families that “Republicans are responsible for denying them the relief that the President Biden fought to bring them.”

For months, the White House has publicly resisted calls from liberal constituency groups to come up with a Plan B for student loan debt in anticipation of the conservative-majority court’s overturning of Biden’s student loan action. .

Even when a majority of Supreme Court justices expressed deep skepticism about Biden’s plan during closing arguments in March and – signaling they would rule against the president – the White House declined to discuss a potential alternative. .

The Supreme Court has ruled that Biden exceeded his executive authority when he bypassed Congress to write off $400 billion in student loan debt by citing a provision in the HEROES Act of 2003 that allows the Secretary of Education to ” waive” or “modify” student loans at a national meeting. emergency.

President Joe Biden speaks during a discussion on artificial intelligence risk management at an event in San Francisco, Tuesday, June 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) XMIT ORG: CASW310

President Joe Biden speaks during a discussion on artificial intelligence risk management at an event in San Francisco, Tuesday, June 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) XMIT ORG: CASW310

What else could Biden do to write off student loan debt?

Biden’s action sought to forgive all federal borrowers $10,000 and up to $20,000 in debt relief for low-income Pell Grant recipients. Debt cancellation was only available to borrowers with annual incomes of less than $125,000 or households earning $250,000 or less.

The legally surefire way to accomplish the same goal — canceling up to $20,000 in student loan debt for low- and middle-income households — would be for Congress to act.

But Biden does not have the votes for legislative action.

Both bodies of Congress — including the Democratic-controlled Senate — voted to repeal Biden’s student loan forgiveness action, forcing Biden’s veto pen to keep his plan alive ahead of the court ruling.

Some legal experts have argued that Biden could come up with a narrower plan that still invokes the HEROES Act, though it would likely be much narrower in scope.

Others have argued that Biden could look to the Higher Education Act of 1965, which Biden and previous administrations have cited to provide student debt relief to certain categories of borrowers such as teachers and college students. People with Disabilities.

The White House has touted its past efforts to cancel debt through the Civil Service Loan Forgiveness Program. However, the Biden only used this method to relieve borrowers working in the public sector.

Instead, Biden may have to revert to smaller steps.

For example, alongside the debt cancellation plan, Biden introduced a new program designed to tie borrowers’ monthly payments more directly to their income. The plan, which is still going through the Department of Education’s regulatory process, would reduce payments for some borrowers to 5% of their discretionary income.

Contact Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden vows to retaliate after Supreme Court student loan ruling

Leave a Comment