Judge Blocks Student Loan Debt Cancellation Program

A District Court judge in Texas yesterday granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs who sued the federal government seeking to block a program that would cancel up to $20,000 of student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000 annually, ruling that the Biden Administration overstepped its authority when it created the program without congressional approval.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Brown et al. v. U.S. Department of Education et al. can be accessed by clicking here.

The Justice Department has already appealed the decision. Other judges across the country had rejected similar suits, ruling the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their case. The ruling was issued by Judge Mark Pittman of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, who was appointed to the bench by President Trump.

The Biden administration was attempting to use the HEROES Act, which allows for the Secretary of Education to waive certain regulations related to student loans during times of war or national emergency “does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program,” Judge Pittman wrote. “The HEROES Act does not mention loan forgiveness.” If Congress wanted to provide authorization for student loans to be forgiven, it would have mentioned it in the statute, Judge Pittman wrote.

Nearly 26 million individuals have submitted applications to have their federal student loan debts wiped out. The program will cancel $10,000 of federal student loans — $20,000 if you have a Pell grant — as long as you make less than $125,000 per year.

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

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