The Department of Education under President Joe Biden’s administration has removed the application for student loan forgiveness from its website. This comes a day after a federal judge declared the forgiveness program unlawful.
Following a court order, the application for student loan relief is now blocked.
“Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders,” it says on the website, also mentioning that the applications of those who already applied for relief are on hold.
The decision comes after Judge Mark Pittman overturned the Biden administration’s student debt transfer program, which he announced in August, months before the midterm elections.
Under the original plan, those earning less than $125,000 per year would be eligible to have $20,000 forgiven if they attended college using Pell Grants. Those who did not attend college on Pell Grants would be eligible for loan forgiveness of up to $10,000.
According to Breitbart News, Pittman ultimately ruled in favor of the conservative advocacy group Job Creators Network, “which brought suit on behalf of two student loan borrowers.”
Pittman stated in part:
The Constitution vests “all legislative powers” in Congress. This power, however, can be delegated to the executive branch. But if the executive branch seeks to use that delegated power to create a law of vast economic and political significance, it must have clear congressional authorization. If not, the executive branch unconstitutionally exercises “legislative powers” vested in Congress. In this case, the HEROES Act — a law to provide loan assistance to military personnel defending our nation — does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program.
He even quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who said the president “does not” have “the power for debt forgiveness.”
“Under our system of government, public policy is typically made by the Congress through a negotiated-and-reasoned process among the members, with input from the president,” the judge said. “And based on how Congress legislated, those members would then be held accountable by their constituents each election cycle.”
This pause on student loan payments is scheduled to end in December.
The case is Brown v. Department of Education, No. 4:22-cv-0908.