Biden administration takes a hit as student loan forgiveness applications are put on hold

Washington DC - One day after a federal judge blocked President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, the US government has put a pause on application input.

President Joe Biden's (r) student loan forgiveness plan was dealt a blow after a Texas-based federal judge blocked it.
President Joe Biden's (r) student loan forgiveness plan was dealt a blow after a Texas-based federal judge blocked it.  © Collage: Paul Morigi / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP / REUTERS

In a ruling made by US District Judge Mark Pittman out of Texas, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, the judge deemed Biden's loan forgiveness plan an "unconstitutional exercise of Congress's legislative power," per Reuters.

Judge Pittman further stated that it defied the HEROES Act, which the Biden administration had argued gave the president the power to erase student loan debts during a national emergency, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

"In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone," Pittman wrote. "Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government."

Given the court order, the "Student Aid" website has stopped taking applications for loan forgiveness. The website currently states: "Student Loan Debt Relief Is Blocked. Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders. If you've already applied, we'll hold your application."

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The Biden administration's appeal to overturn the ruling is to be heard by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is known to by dominated by conservative judges who have shut down various other Biden-produced policies.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they "strongly disagreed" with Pittman's ruling, and would hold onto application information to quickly provide relief "once we prevail in court."

Depending on how the appeals process goes, the case could end up at the Supreme Court, where Trump-appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett has already denied two requests to block the program in lawsuits from Indiana and Wisconsin.

Cover photo: Collage: Paul Morigi / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP / REUTERS

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