The head of the Education Department pledged on Saturday to continue to “move full speed ahead” on plans to implement President Joe Biden’s student debt relief package, coming a day after a A federal appeals court temporarily suspended it, preventing the administration from canceling loans covered under the policy while it is under review.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona doubled down on the administration’s commitment to providing student debt relief in an op-ed published Saturday and encouraged those eligible to continue applying through the online application. direct.
“Amid some Republicans trying every means to block the Biden administration’s debt relief program, the department is moving full speed ahead with preparations for the legal implementation of our program so that we can bring relief to borrowers who need it most,” Cardona wrote in the United States. Today.
“Already, 22 million people have provided the ministry with the necessary information we need to review their eligibility for student debt relief. We encourage borrowers to continue to seek debt relief on studentaid.gov,” he continued.
In a pairing video posted on TwitterCardona referred to the “baseless” lawsuits brought by Republican-run states to block the program.
Cardona pointed out that almost 90% of the benefits of the debt relief plan would go to those earning less than $75,000 a year, according to estimates from the Department of Education. He also pointed to arguments by Republicans who Cardona said did not sue when they reaped the benefits of loans from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.
“It’s only when relief goes to American workers and middle classes that these elected officials have a problem,” Cardona explained in his op-ed.
“This program will help borrowers by providing relief from the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. President Biden and this administration will never stop fighting for the millions of hard-working students and borrowers across the country – no matter how many elected officials or lawsuits try to stop us,” added Cardona.
Late Friday, a federal appeals court temporarily suspended Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, preventing the government from canceling loans covered by the policy while the court considers challenging it.
The order from the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals comes in a case brought by six Republican-led states seeking a preliminary injunction to end the policy after a district court dismissed the case earlier this week . The effort is separate from a Wisconsin taxpayer group’s challenge to the program that was recently rejected by the Supreme Court.
The appeals court gave the administration until Monday to respond to the states’ request, and the states will have until Tuesday to respond to that response. The states had asked the appeals court to act before Sunday, the earliest date the Biden administration announced it would grant student loan discharges.
After Friday’s ruling, the White House encouraged borrowers to still seek relief despite the suspension.
The lawsuit, which was filed last month, was dismissed on Oct. 20 by a lower court judge who ruled that the plaintiffs lacked legal status to file the challenge, CNN previously reported.
The Biden administration also faces lawsuits from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and conservative groups such as the Job Creators Network Foundation and the Cato Institute.
Numerous legal challenges claim the Biden administration lacks the legal authority to write off student loan debt broadly.
Government lawyers say Congress gave the Secretary of Education the power to pay off his debt in a 2003 law known as the HEROES Act, CNN previously reported.
Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, first announced in August, aims to provide debt relief for millions of borrowers before federal student loan repayments resume in January after a nearly three-year pause related to the pandemic.
Under Biden’s plan, eligible individual borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who earned less than $250,000 a year in those years will see up to to $10,000 of their canceled federal student loan debt.
If an eligible borrower also received a Federal Pell Grant while enrolled in college, the individual is eligible for debt forgiveness of up to $20,000.