Biden Announces New Plan After SCOTUS Drops Student Loan Forgiveness

( – The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) dealt a setback to President Biden’s agenda in their 6-3 ruling in Biden v. Nebraska, which decided that the Secretary of Education does not have the authority to waive student loans with the HEROES Act, and that this power is limited to only postponing or extending when payments for loans occur. 

Thus, the SCOTUS delegated the responsibility for waiving federal student loans to Congress through legislation; however, with a divided Congress, and the opposition of House Republicans, this task would be seemingly impossible for President Biden to try. However, Biden now has a new plan to completely circumvent the SCOTUS ruling

In his new scheme for student loan forgiveness, President Biden will now attempt to use the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), which gives the Secretary of Education the authority to “compromise, waive or release” student loans. Known as negotiated rulemaking, this process for waiving loans could take up to two years; however, it could end in further setback if the administration is ruled against again with the concept that this authority is not unilaterally for the executive branch to hold, but also requires legislation.

Critics of the move also believe this may be another attempt for Biden to appeal politically to those with student loans ahead of the Democratic primary and 2024 general election. A recent Emerson poll shows that, despite a job disapproval of 51%, President Biden leads with 71% against Robert Kennedy Jr. who is polling at 15%; however, incumbent Presidents in the 21st century have typically won their primary popular votes in the range of the high 80s to low 90s, which means that Biden may need to earn additional political capital within his party to unify them for the general election.

A level of confidence has been displayed by some experts and activists that the HEA could have the potential to withstand judicial scrutiny in its waiving of student loans; however, conservatives maintain that the continued pursuit of loan forgiveness unilaterally by the executive is an unconstitutional overreach by the Biden administration.

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