Economy

Stocksak temporarily blocks Biden’s student loan forgiveness program By the U.S. Appeal Court


© Stocksak. U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about student loan forgiveness from an auditorium at the White House campus in Washington, U.S.A, October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

By Eric Beech & Steve Gorman

WASHINGTON, (Stocksak). A U.S. appellate court temporarily blocked President Joe Biden from cancelling billions of dollars of college student debt. The decision came one day after six states filed a lawsuit challenging the loan-forgiveness program.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an immediate stay to prevent student debt from being discharged under the program until the court rules upon the request of the states for a longer-term order while the decision against them is appealed.

The St. Louis-based appeals courts also ordered an expedited briefing on the matter.

U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey of St. Louis ruled that, while the six Republican-led States had raised “important” and “significant challenges to the debt relief program,” he dismissed their lawsuit on the grounds that they did not have the legal standing to pursue the case.

Nebraska, Missouri and South Carolina said Biden’s plan was against congressional authority. It also threatened future tax revenues for the states and money earned by state entities who invest in or service student loans.

In September, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office calculated that the government would have to forgive its debt by paying about $400 billion.

Karine Jean Pierre, White House press secretary, said that Thursday’s temporary injunction does not prohibit borrowers from applying to student debt relief. Neither does it prevent the Biden administration review applications and prepare them for transmission to loan servicers.

Jean-Pierre stated, “We encourage eligible borrowers to join the nearly 23 million Americans whose data the Department of Education already holds,”

“It’s important to note that the court order does not reverse the dismissal by the trial judge or suggest that there is merit to the case,” she said. “It prevents debt from becoming dischargeable until the (appeals’) court makes a ruling.”

Doug Peterson (Republican Attorney General of Nebraska) welcomed the temporary stay.

“It’s very important that the legal issues involving presidential power be analyzed by the court before transferring over $400 billion in debt to American taxpayers,” he said.

The 8th Circuit has heard a variety of cases from conservative state attorneys general and legal organizations, seeking to stop the debt forgiveness plan that Biden announced in August.

Autrey ruled approximately an hour after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied with no explanation an emergency request for debt relief in a separate case brought by the Wisconsin-based Brown County Taxpayers Association.

Biden stated that the U.S. government will forgive student loan debt up to $10,000 for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 annually, or $250,000 for married couples. Pell Grant borrowers who are lower-income college students will see their debt forgiven up to $20,000

This policy fulfilled a promise Biden made during his 2020 presidential campaign to help former college students who are in debt.

Democrats hope the policy will increase support for them in the Nov.8 midterm elections, in which control over Congress is at stake.

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