President Joe Biden’s Education Department was the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation against student debt forgiveness. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young denied the PLF’s argument that the program was illegal. But this will not be the last challenge.
Biden announced earlier in September that his program would forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt and $20,000 should students and former students have received PELL grants.
The PLF argued that President Biden’s program was illegal, because the House, which controls government expenditures, had not approved the action. The organization claimed that the program would cause one of its attorneys “irreparable harm,” because it gave individuals a “state tax liability,” Reuters reported:
‘Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically because their relevant income data is already available to the Department.’
The Department of Education made updates on its website so that people could more easily understand that no one would have to be a part of the debt forgiveness. The website for the Education Department now reads, according to CNBC:
‘If you would like to opt out of debt relief for any reason, including because you are concerned about a state tax liability, you will be given an opportunity to opt out. Consolidation loans comprised of any FFEL or Perkins loans not held by ED are also eligible, as long as the borrower applied for consolidation before Sept. 29, 2022.’
At that point, Judge Young rendered the lawsuit “baseless,” since the Education Department clarified that no one must take the money. And he lifted the temporary restraining order on the president’s program, the Associated Press reported.
PLF attorney Caleb Kruckenberg released a statement on behalf of one of its attorneys, Frank Garrison, that read:
‘Since Pacific Legal Foundation filed the case on Tuesday, the government has made two staggeringly large changes to the program via quiet revisions to a Department of Education website, which only serves to underscore the lawless nature of this program. The government clearly had not considered the implications of the program for people like our plaintiff, Frank Garrison.’
The Education Department released a statement that read:
‘Our goal is to provide relief to as many eligible borrowers as quickly and easily as possible, and this will allow us to achieve that goal while we continue to explore additional legally-available options to provide relief to borrowers with privately owned FFEL loans and Perkins loans.’
Six states with Republican majorities filed another lawsuit challenging the president’s plan, according to NPR.
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