Republican-Led States Block Biden’s Student Debt Relief Plan

Republican-Led States Block Biden’s Student Debt Relief Plan

Recently, two federal judges in Kansas and Missouri, at the request of Republican-led states, have issued injunctions to prevent President Joe Biden's administration from further implementing a new student debt relief plan. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in Wichita, Kansas, and U.S. District Judge John Ross in St. Louis, Missouri, have blocked the U.S. Department of Education from moving forward with certain parts of the plan that aim to lower borrowers' monthly payments and provide a quicker path to debt forgiveness.

The Republican-led states, including Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and Alaska, have been at the forefront of the legal battle against the implementation of the new student debt relief plan. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, hailed the decision by Judge Ross to issue a preliminary injunction against further loan forgiveness under the administration's Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan.

In response to the rulings by the federal judges, the White House expressed strong disagreement and criticized Republican elected officials for hindering student debt forgiveness efforts. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized that the administration would continue to explore all available options to provide students and borrowers with the necessary relief.

President Joe Biden announced the SAVE Plan in 2022, which was part of a broader $430 billion program aimed at fulfilling a campaign promise to cancel up to $20,000 in debt for millions of Americans. However, the SAVE Plan was blocked by the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court in June 2023, preventing its full implementation. Despite this setback, parts of the plan had already been put into effect, benefiting hundreds of thousands of borrowers.

Eleven states, including South Carolina, Texas, and Alaska, filed a lawsuit in Kansas challenging the SAVE Plan. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree dismissed some claims by eight of the states but allowed these three states to proceed with their legal challenge. Additionally, seven other states filed a lawsuit in Missouri against the student debt relief plan.

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Judge Crabtree, appointed by Democratic former President Barack Obama, raised concerns about the lack of clear authorization for the “unprecedented and dramatic expansion” of -based repayment plans under the Higher Education Act of 1965. He noted an estimate by lawyers for certain states that the SAVE Plan would come with a hefty price tag of $475 billion over a decade.

The legal battle over President Joe Biden's student debt relief plan highlights the ongoing political divide over the issue of student loan forgiveness. While the administration continues to advocate for such relief, Republican-led states have successfully halted further implementation of the plan. The future of student debt relief efforts remains uncertain as the fight over the SAVE Plan continues in the courts.

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