The coalition of states challenging President Biden’s $400 billion student loan has submitted its written response to the US Supreme Court after the administration tried to dismiss the lawsuit.
In court documents filed Wednesday, Nebraska and five other states argue that Biden’s invocation of a national emergency to forgive a portion of the federal student loan debt is an “unlawful” abuse of the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act The answer comes after the Biden administration last week filed its emergency motion in the Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court injunction blocking the enactment of the student loan forgiveness program.
“The law requires a real connection to a national emergency. But the Department’s reliance on the COVID-19 pandemic is an excuse to obscure the President’s true goal of fulfilling his campaign promise to pay off student loan debt,” the states wrote in their response.
“By obscuring the true motive, the agency is attempting to link the cancellation to the pandemic by citing current economic conditions allegedly caused by COVID-19. However, these conditions are not directly a result of the pandemic, so the Department has not adequately linked the cancellation to a national emergency,” they said.
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The Biden administration now has an opportunity to file a final response, at which point the court would be ready to issue an order. That could happen in the next few days.
On Friday, the government filed an emergency motion in the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court injunction blocking the enactment of the student loan forgiveness program.
The White House argues both that the states behind the challenge have no actual authority to bring the case and that they would win the case. The federal government argues that the action is within its competence.
In its motion, the Biden administration repeatedly stated that the loan forgiveness plan must go ahead because borrowers are currently in financial limbo.
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The administration told the court that borrowers who qualify for forgiveness expect to receive a $200 to $300 reduction in monthly payments. “Because of the injunction, borrowers, who are most likely to default if payment obligations resume without some relief, face continued uncertainty about the extent of their payment obligations and when those obligations will resume,” she claimed.
“As long as this uncertainty persists, many borrowers will lack the information they need to decide whether they can afford to change jobs, buy a home or car, or make other long-term financial commitments.”
In the filing filed Wednesday, the states claimed they would face a “wave of damages” if the injunction was lifted.
“Contrasted with the lack of an immediate violation by the Department, lifting the injunction risks unleashing a wave of damage across the states that has been irreversible due to the ‘irreversible impact’ of the annulment. … Given this lopsided balance, the court should deny the Department’s motion to vacate the Eighth Circuit’s injunction,” the states wrote.
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Biden announced in August that he would give away $10,000 federal student loan debt Relief for certain borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.
Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina sued the government, arguing that the president does not have the authority to unilaterally forgive student loans.
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The president said he was “confident” his “student debt relief plan is legal.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Peter Doocy and Patrick Ward contributed to this report.