Less than a month after opening the portal for his ambitious $400 billion ‘student loan forgiveness’ plan, the Biden administration has been ordered to stop taking new applications by a federal judge.
US District Judge Mark Pittman, one of the appointees by former President Donald Trump said the Biden administration did not have the ‘clear authorisation’ to create such a programme.
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government,” observed the court in its judgement.
“The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved.”
After the order, a note was posted on the forgiveness application page at Studentaid.gov, informing about the decision.
“Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications,” read the notification.
“We are seeking to overturn those orders. If you’ve already applied, we’ll hold your application,” it added.
The decision comes at a time when over 26 million Americans have applied on the portal, seeking relief. Out of the 26 million, the White House has already approved requests for 16 million.
The Biden administration is now appealing the ruling which will be most likely heard in front of a three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans. However, once again, the White Houe will have to face a courthouse, dominated by conservative judges.
Notably, this is not the first time that a monkey wrench has been thrown into Biden’s plans. As reported by WION, in October, the eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on the plan, temporarily blocking the federal government from cancelling any loans.
The court said it was considering a request for an injunction under a lawsuit filed by a coalition of six Republican-led states viz. Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and South Carolina.
Unveiled in August, the programme is expected to provide a $10,000 relief for borrowers with salaries less than $125,000. For recipients of Pell Grants, the relief doubles to $20,000.
(With inputs from agencies)
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