A federal judge blocks Biden’s federal student loan program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – The future of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is uncertain after a federal judge in Texas blocked it as “unlawful.”

The Biden administration has argued that Congress gave the Secretary of Education the power to clear student loan debt in a 2003 law known as the HEROES Act.

The federal judge rejected this argument.

Matthew Everhart, like many others, is expected to pay off a slew of student loan debts.

“I wouldn’t want to say it [the dollar amount of the debt]but [it’s] about a year’s salary,” Everhart said.

Everhart said he was relieved to hear President Joe Biden announce a plan to forgive eligible federal debt for student loans.

“When I was 18, I didn’t really know how much money I had borrowed. I just thought that’s the thing you do after high school; you go to [college]and you know … I’m paying the minimum payment for it now, but it just never gets any less,” Everhart said.

The Biden administration said that under the HEROES Act, passed in 2003, Congress had already given the Secretary of Education authority to create a program that would provide for student loan forgiveness in times of a national emergency, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it wasn’t long before the program ended up in court after multiple lawsuits.

“Not surprised, not at all,” Mike said, not wanting to give his last name.

The judge dismissed the argument of the HEROES Act, saying that this Act did not make it clear that Congress could approve a plan to advance a student loan forgiveness program.

“I think if it were properly legislated it could have happened, but the president doesn’t have the power to just take back loans like that,” Mike said.

The US Department of Education said more than 26 million borrowers like Everhart have provided the information needed to process their requests for relief.

Sixteen million applications have been approved and sent to loan servicers to be dismissed if the courts allow.

“If they really wanted to forgive everyone, why not just say it’s for everyone? And then, yeah, it’s kind of devastating that the day after the election, ‘actually no, you don’t get forgiveness for that,'” Everhart said.

The Justice Department said it would appeal the decision.

The measure has already been stayed after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay last month.

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