Student loan debt is a problem many American citizens face, but President Joe Biden has offered a policy of forgiveness.
However, a group of Republican-led states argued on Wednesday that the policy should be put on hold while related lawsuits unfold.
Additionally, they noted that the Biden administration had extended the pause in student loan repayments.
Republican states received an appeals court order blocking the implementation of the program.
They said the extension showed the court order in place would do no harm.
In a new filing, Republicans wrote:
“The Department [of Education] can point to no emergency or imminent harm because, just yesterday, the agency extended the payment pause on student loans until the summer of 2023.”
Federal student loan payments were due to resume in January after a year-long pandemic hiatus.
On Tuesday, however, the Biden administration said the hiatus would extend to 60 days.
The extension will take place when the pending litigation of the forgiveness program is resolved.
If the program is not implemented and the dispute is not resolved by June 30, payments will resume after 60 days.
Wednesday’s filing comes in response to a request from the Biden administration asking the Supreme Court to lift the hold on the student loan forgiveness program.
The program would cancel up to $20,000 of credit to individual borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 and 2021.
Republican states also blamed the government’s reliance on the pandemic as an excuse to obscure Biden’s goal of fulfilling his campaign promise to pay off student loan debt.
Biden’s student loan policy was going to go in effect this fall.
However, the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit blocked it in a lawsuit raised by the following:
- South Carolina
The Circuit alleges that Miguel Cardona, Secretary of the Department of Education, overstepped his authority.
Cardona canceled individual debts while implementing the program.
They also allege that the department violated administrative law by launching the policy.
Additionally, the states point to a Texas federal judge’s ruling in a separate case that overturned student loan policies.
The administration, in turn, filed an appeal with the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to Wednesday’s filing, the ruling will remain even if the Supreme Court decides to lift the suspension.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration suggests bringing the case to the Supreme Court if the 5th Circuit allows the verdict to be overturned.
The student loan program
US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued in the Supreme Court petition that suspending the program would leave millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo.
Additionally, people won’t know how much they owe and may be unable to make financial decisions without knowing their future repayment obligations.
Prelogar also explained that the program is a legal effort to ensure borrowers affected by a national emergency are not worse off with their student loans.