A federal judge in Texas, Mark Pittman, has nullified President Biden’s agenda for a student loan forgiveness program. Pittman said that based on the HEROES Act, the government does not have the congressional powers to apply the provisions of the Act for its student loan handout plan.
The judge declared the program illegal after the Job Creators Network Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of two student loan debtors who did not qualify for debt relief. The foundation was established by Bernie Marcus, a major Trump donor. In a previous October 21 ruling, the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals had asked the presidency to halt proceeding with the student debt cancelation.
But the White House insisted that the president can wield the power under the 2003 HEROES Act law.
Judge Pittman stated that a thorough interpretation of the Act reveals that it does not confer clear congressional authorization to the executive to forgive student loans. This judge was nominated by former President Donald Trump.
“Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine,” he stated. “Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States. And having interpreted the HEROES Act, the Court holds that it does not provide ‘clear congressional authorization for the Program proposed by the Secretary.”
The president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, Elaine Parker, expressed relief at Pittman’s nullification of the program.
“The court has correctly ruled in favor of our motion and deemed the Biden student loan program illegal,” Parker said. “This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government. 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.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the government will be appealing the court’s decision and that the Department of Justice will contest this ruling. She said 26 million Americans who borrowed student loans have already filed their data with the Department of Education, and that 16 million already have their applications approved for debt cancelation.
President Biden plans to cancel up to $10,000 for students who borrowed federal student loans and up to $20,000 for students who got the Pell Grant while still in college. Payments on federal student loans are scheduled to start in January 2023 after it was paused in March 2020 due to the biting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.