As was expected, President Joe Biden unilaterally implemented a student loan forgiveness program Wednesday that included at least $10,000 in loan forgiveness to borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year and a pay freeze for approximately four months.
Although Republican members of Congress are outraged by the move, the majority of those openly speaking out against it seem to be avoiding the “i”, which is impeachment. This is a possibility that should be considered considering that Biden doesn’t have the authority to execute this plan. It does an end-run around Congress and the necessary legislative process.
Biden’s Education Dept. stated that he does have such authority. This was confirmed Wednesday by reporters after many asked where he got his power.
How’s he doing it?
Biden is employing a post-9/11 law that allows for debt cancelation “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency.”
Which emergency? “[T]he present COVID-19 pandemic,” per a Dept of Ed memo issued yesterday.
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) August 24, 2022
The August 23rd memo was written by Dept. Dept. General Counsel Lisa Brown and Secretary Miguel Cardona have the legal authority to make taxpayers pay student loan debts of other people thanks to the 2003 HEROES act. This is a reversal from a January 2021 memo that stated they didn’t have such authority.
Starting Tuesday memo:
The Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) has been reviewing the legal authority of the Secretary to cancel student loans on a categorical basis for the past year and a half. This was done in collaboration with the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. The review included an evaluation of the analysis contained in the January 2021 memorandum, which was publicly disseminated by a former Principal Vice General Counsel. We have shown below that we found that the Higher Education Relief Options for Students (“HEROES”) Act of2003 grants the Secretary authority to implement a program of loan cancellations targeted at addressing financial harms caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, we have concluded that the January 2021 memo was fundamentally flawed in its conclusions.
The HEROES Act was first enacted following the September 11 attacks. It gives the Secretary broad authority over student loan relief during certain periods (a war or other military operation or national emergency, like the current COVID-19 pandemic), and for specific purposes (including to deal with the financial damages of such a war or other military operation or emergency). This authority has been used by the Secretary of Education in every administration since its passage to provide relief for borrowers during a war, other military operations, or national emergency.
It’s amazing that they were able to get around the legality of this move in time for Biden’s announcement. It was almost as if this power appeared from thin air, just in time to help with the November midterm elections.
Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker (D-Calif.), said that in July 2021 Biden did not have the power to forgive student loan debts. She has done a nice 180:
PELOSI IN APRIL: “People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not.”
PELOSI TODAY: Biden’s move to cancel student debt “is a strong step in Democrats’ fight to expand access to higher education.” pic.twitter.com/zr3PRKHjk5
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 24, 2022
And then yesterday:
“Well, we’re excited about the president, because we didn’t know what — what authority the president had to do this. And now clearly, it seems he has the authority to do this: $10,000 for those … making under $125,000 a year.”
It would be great if the Democrat side could see the dangers of such a move, and the potential for it to backfire when the election comes around.
This is how it looks:
“Suppose your child has decided that they don’t want to go to college at this moment. But you have to pay taxes to forgive someone else. This may make you unhappy”.
Who was the Democrat who said this? Nancy Pelosi was a senator one year ago. Chuck Schumer, the Majority Leader (D-N.Y.), pushed for Biden’s forgiveness of student loan debt up to $50,000
How times have political conditions changed?