Republican senators submit amicus brief to Supreme Court arguing against student loan relief

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
Greg Nash
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) speaks to reporters as he leaves the Capitol following votes on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 as work continues on the continuing resolution to fund the federal government.

More than 40 Republican senators have filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court arguing against Biden’s student loan relief plan. 

The Republicans, including the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), filed the brief on Friday for both student loan cases in front of the Supreme Court: Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown. 

The senators argue in the brief that Biden does not have the unilateral authority to cancel debt as he is trying to do. 

“President Biden’s student loan schemes do not ‘forgive’ student debt, but transfers it onto Americans who chose not to go to college or worked hard to pay off their loans,” Cassidy said. “These policies are a clear overreach of President Biden’s authority and unconstitutional.”

Biden’s student debt relief is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to cost taxpayers $400 billion. 

The Biden administration has maintained that it has the authority to unilaterally cancel debt through the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROS) Act, which it argues allows the administration to cancel debt during a national emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Republicans have rejected that argument, saying the act does not apply to the current situation and that Biden needed authorization from Congress to attempt to cancel up to $20,000 in debt for student borrowers. 

“The HEROES Act cannot plausibly be read to authorize the forgiveness of loan principal that places borrowers in a better position financially than before the emergency, much less to cancel half a trillion dollars in loan principal as the Secretary attempts to do here,” the senators wrote in the amicus brief. 

The oral arguments for the two student loan cases will be presented in front of the Supreme Court later in February, with a final decision likely to come out in May or June. 

The Republicans filed their brief the same day President Biden is set to give the State of the Union address, where he will likely mention student debt relief.

Tags Bill Cassidy Bill Cassidy HEROs Act student debt relief Supreme Court

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