Here’s how Biden defied the Supreme Court to cancel $144 billion in student loans – Washington Examiner

President Joe Biden unveiled another round in his steady drip of student debt write-offs on Thursday, announcing that 78,000 public sector workers would not have to repay $6 billion in loans.

“From day one of my administration, I promised to fix broken student loan programs and make sure higher education is a ticket to the middle class, not a barrier to opportunity,” Biden said. “I won’t back down from using every tool at my disposal to deliver student debt relief to more Americans, and build an economy from the middle out and bottom up.”

Biden’s previous loan cancellation plan was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. However, his more recent debt transfers rest on a different legal authority than the original, $400 billion-plus plan.

The original program, which was announced six weeks before the 2022 midterm elections, rested legally on the HEROES Act of 2003. That law was written with Iraq War veterans in mind and dependent on the presence of a national emergency, which Biden said was apt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high court disagreed.

Cancellation rounds since then have rested on the Higher Education Act of 1965, a portion of which reads, “in the performance of, and with respect to, the functions, powers, and duties, vested in him by this part, the Secretary [of Education] may enforce, pay, compromise, waive, or release any right, title, claim, lien, or demand, however acquired, including any equity or any right of redemption.”

Biden wasted little time rolling out his HEA-based backup plan.

Just two weeks after the Supreme Court ruling, the administration announced that 804,000 borrowers would have $39 billion of their student debt transferred to the public debt. The Department of Education described the move, and the others announced this since, as a fix to existing income-driven repayment plans, by which partial, late, and deferred payments were counted toward completion of the programs.

“For far too long, borrowers fell through the cracks of a broken system that failed to keep accurate track of their progress towards forgiveness,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a written statement.

The total cost has now reached $144 billion for nearly 4 million borrowers.

Biden is sending out emails with his name and signature to anyone whose debt is getting canceled, letting them know who’s responsible.

The moves have outraged conservatives who say it is illegal, fails to address the root issue of high college costs, and is a net wealth transfer from those who didn’t go to college to relatively well-off people who did.

“I want President Biden to answer this question: How does transferring student loan debt improve the federal student loan system? The answer is it doesn’t,” House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said. “Tomorrow’s students will face even greater challenges as students today because this administration can’t be bothered to work on lowering tuition costs, improving degree completion rates, or holding institutions accountable.”

Though the figures are smaller, affecting 4 million debtors rather than 40 million, opponents still describe it as a vote-buying scheme.

“Ever since the Supreme Court put a stop to Biden’s illegal mass loan forgiveness, he has taken a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach to foisting as much debt as possible onto the federal taxpayer in an effort to buy votes,” Defense of Freedom Institute spokeswoman Angela L. Morabito said.


Yet to date, no major lawsuits have emerged challenging the legality of Biden’s post-Supreme Court forgiveness, even as he announces a new round every few weeks.

Biden describes it as an “alternative path” to canceling student loans, while Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has added the administration has “no intention of slowing down.”