The Biden administration is expressing assurance that their student loan proposal will withstand any potential Supreme Court challenge, despite its questionable legal basis. According to Bharat Ramamurti, a top official from the National Economic Council, the White House’s lawyers feel confident in their legal authority and are not considering other options. The plan involves utilizing the HEROES Act of 2003 to erase debt under the argument that the COVID crisis is still an “emergency.” However, this argument has been weakened due to conflicting messages from Biden, as it was recently reported that he intends to end the COVID emergency on May 11th, which is after he already declared the pandemic to be “over.”
If Biden loses his case, he has limited favorable options. He has temporarily suspended debt payments until June during litigation. According to Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert, Biden could extend the suspension indefinitely or implement an income-based repayment plan where borrowers pay for a set period and have the remaining balance forgiven. Some borrower advocates have evaluated the Higher Education Act of 1965 as a potential solution. However, many believe that Biden’s plan lacks legal ground and that he is simply using whatever legal pretext he can to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Sixteen million applicants have already received approval, but the program is currently suspended, awaiting the Supreme Court’s verdict, which is predicted to be announced in the summer. The oral arguments are scheduled for February. If Biden’s case is unsuccessful, a wave of defaults could occur after a prolonged period during which borrowers were not required to make payments. This could result in disappointment among supporters who were promised debt forgiveness. The NAACP has raised concerns that the outcome of the case may impact Biden’s support among the black community, as he has portrayed the student loan forgiveness plan as a victory for black individuals in particular.
The Biden White House is standing firm in their confidence that their student loan plan will survive a Supreme Court challenge. Despite the shaky legal theory behind it, they are not exploring other alternatives and are confident in their legal authority. If Biden loses his case, there could be serious consequences for both him and his supporters. It remains to be seen what will happen when oral arguments take place in February, and the Supreme Court makes their decision in the summer.
The preceding article is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Conservative Institute