Supreme Court Strikes Down Biden Student Loan Bailout

The Supreme Court ruled this week that President Joe Biden does not have the power to forgive about $400 billion in student loans through executive action. Biden attempted to eliminate the payments through justification tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

forgive loans for borrowers who were involved in an emergency situation. The act was initially intended to be used for members of the military deployed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The plan would have erased part or all of the student loan debt for more than 40 million borrowers. Chief Justice John Roberts described the Biden administration’s efforts as a “novel and fundamentally different loan forgiveness program.”

Roberts cited a 2021 statement by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY).

“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not,” Pelosi said, quoted in Roberts’ majority opinion. 

“He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress,” the quote from Pelosi continued.

The 6-3 conservative majority determined that such loan forgiveness could only be carried out through an act of Congress, not through executive fiat.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, Biden announced plans to circumvent the decision.

The president intends to use the 1965 Higher Education Act, which empowers Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona the ability to “compromise, waive or release any title, claim, lien or demand, however acquired, including any equity or any right of redemption.”

Cardona introduced a series of adjustments that would reduce the amount paid per month to repay their loan from 10% to 5% of discretionary income. Some borrowers will be allowed to make payments amounting to zero dollars. The secretary also proposed not referring borrowers who default on their student loan debt to credit agencies for at least one year.

“I believe that the Court’s decision to strike down our student debt relief plan is wrong,” Biden said. “But I will stop at nothing to find other ways to deliver relief to hard-working middle-class families.”

“My Administration will continue to work to bring the promise of higher education to every American,” the president said.