Biden Unveils New Steps For Student Loan Relief

President Joe Biden recently unveiled multiple steps to help Americans with their student loans and criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for rejecting a program that would deliver up to $20,000 of relief for individuals struggling with their student loans.

In a 6-7 vote, the Supreme Court invalidated Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, ruling that a 2003 federal law does not permit the program to “eliminate” nearly $500 billion of student loan debt.

Republicans argued that Biden’s initial relief plan was unconstitutional and unfair.

“Biden’s student loan bailout unfairly punished Americans who already paid off their loans, saved for college, or made a different career choice,” Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “Americans saw right through this desperate vote grab, and we are thankful that the Supreme Court did as well.”

In July 2021, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not.”

“He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have the power. That has to be an act of Congress,” Pelosi said.

Biden believed the Supreme Court’s ruling was “wrong” and “disappointing.”

“Today’s decision has closed one path. Now we’re going to start another,” Biden said. “I believe the court’s decision to strike down my student debt relief program was a mistake, was wrong. I’m not going to stop fighting to deliver borrowers what they need, particularly those at the bottom end of the economic scale.”

The president was interviewed by reporters and said his administration would seek to cancel $430 billion in student loan debt through a different route, the Higher Education Act. The Department of Education (DOE) began a months-long regulatory procedure, effective on Oct. 1, 2023, during which debtors will not be regarded as having missed payments.

“I will stop at nothing to find other ways to deliver relief to hard-working middle-class families,” Biden said. “My Administration will continue to work to bring the promise of higher education to every American.”

According to the Biden administration, the Higher Education Act will “save” students in debt $1,000 annually. As part of a broader plan, the DOE established a project to lower the monthly payments that the students must make from 10-5%.

To help community college graduates, loan forgiveness would be directed towards students with a debt of $12,000 or less after 10 years of payments rather than 20.

Democrats, who primarily voted for Biden in the 2020 election, have long pressured the White House to handle the student loan debt issue. The Supreme Court’s recent ruling further increased calls for more action.

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