The White House vowed to fight GOP challenges to student debt relief following a federal appeals court temporarily blocking the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan while court battles play out.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the administration will continue to oppose Republican officials who sue to block the plan from taking effect.
Jean-Pierre said the ruling does not prevent borrowers from continuing to apply for student debt relief nor does it stop the federal government from reviewing the applications. The administration just cannot distribute relief until the court makes a ruling.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit issued the temporary stay to Biden’s plan on Friday following a challenge from six Republican-led states.
A federal district judge dismissed the case on Thursday, ruling that the six attorneys general representing the states did not have standing to sue because they did not demonstrate that the policy directly harms their states, but the appeals court ruling stops the administration from disbursing relief while it considers the case.
Jean-Pierre said in her statement that the appeals court order does not reverse the district court’s dismissal of the case or necessarily suggest that the case has merit.
U.S. District Judge Henry Autry did note in his ruling that the attorneys general presented “important and significant” challenges to Biden’s plan.
The Biden administration has argued that it has the authority to cancel the debt through a 2003 act of Congress that allows the secretary of Education to student loan debt in times of “national emergency.”
Biden’s plan would cancel up to $10,000 in debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year and up to $20,000 for borrowers who received Pell Grants.
Biden announced earlier Friday that more than 20 million borrowers had already applied for forgiveness.