BY Warner Todd Huston, The Western JournalMarch 27, 2023
1 year ago
 | March 27, 2023
1 year ago

GOP Found a Creative Way to Block Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness, Here Are Dems That Could Join

Republicans in the U.S. Senate are trying a new tactic to shut down President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plans by introducing a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would overturn Biden's gift that will end up costing the U.S. Treasury at least $430 billion.

The resolution is being sponsored by Republicans Bill Cassidy (LA), John Cornyn (TX), and Joni Ernst (IA) and is in response to the determination by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that Biden's plan to forgive $20,000 in debt per borrower qualifies as a rule subject to the Administrative Procedures Act. This type of rule is subject to being overturned by a CRA resolution, according to the Washington Examiner.

The CRA allows a simple majority of both houses to overturn regulations enacted by the administration. A major drawback is that the CRA still needs a presidential signature to go into effect. So, Biden would shoot down his own campaign pledge and sign the resolution that would cancel his pandering to the left wing on loan forgiveness.

Opponents of Biden's campaign promise to "forgive" debt say that the claim is deceptive because the debt isn't just magically erased, but is instead simply transferred to the federal government, meaning we all pay for it with our tax dollars.

"President Biden’s student loan scheme does not ‘forgive’ debt. It just transfers the burden from those who willingly took out loans to those who never went to college or sacrificed to pay their loans off," Cassidy said. "This resolution prevents these Americans, whose debts look different from the favored group the Biden administration has selected, from picking up the bill for this irresponsible and unfair policy."

The CRA possibility was raised after the Government Accountability Office rejected the administration's claim that its loan forgiveness plan was not a regulation or any sort of "rulemaking" because it was only a "one-time, fact-bound application of existing and statutorily prescribed waiver and modification authority."

Even as the GAO disagreed, Biden's lawyers argued that since it was just a one-time event, the forgiveness plan did not serve as a regulation that could be overturned by a CRA. But without commenting on whether the plan was legal in the first place, the GAO did rule that it was subject to CRA.

"We hold only that a valid exercise of authority under the HEROES Act is subject to CRA," the GAO report said. "We need not reach the more specific conclusion about the substantive validity of ED’s Waivers and Modifications at issue in the Supreme Court’s decision in Biden v. Nebraska in order to reach a conclusion under CRA."

Even if it is unlikely that Biden would sign a CRA that overturns his own loan forgiveness scheme, the Republican CRA plan does put Democrats in the uncomfortable position of having to openly vote on Biden's plan and take a public stance on the issue only a year before the 2024 election cycle.

With that in mind, at least two Democrats have spoken out against Biden's plans.

Two swing state Democrats in particular, Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), could well sign onto a CRA. Both Democrats have signaled that they don't support Biden's loan forgiveness ideas.

For her part, for instance, Masto did not reject a CRA out of hand.

“I’ll review the full text of the CRA when it is released, but like I said before, I disagree with President Biden’s executive action on student loans because it doesn’t address the root problems that make college unaffordable," Masto said, according to the Washington Examiner.

Biden's citation of the HEROS Act to justify his scheme is also problematic. As Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers pointed out in February, the HEROS Act was meant to aid our soldiers, not the general population.

Hilgers explained in his Wall Street Journal article that then-President George W. Bush signed the HEROES Act "after the start of the Iraq war to ensure that active-duty military members could pause student-loan payments while serving the country. Every congressional finding in support of the law focused on providing relief to people serving in the military for ‘our nation’s defense.'"

The HEROS Act was meant to offer loan relief "in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency." Biden is now trying to use it for political purposes.

Trump temporarily paused loan repayments due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Biden is attempting to use the pandemic to justify his loan plan. But as Hilgers noted, "In September [Biden] went on television and declared the pandemic over. More recently his administration committed to ending the state of emergency on May 11." He added, "The president can’t have it both ways. He can’t tell the country the pandemic is over while claiming that it justifies this unilateral action."

The GOP may eventually have the support of the U.S. Supreme Court. According to EdSource, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts seemed skeptical about Biden's invoking of the HEROS Act and said it appears the act is far more limited in scope than Biden thinks. "We’re talking about half a trillion dollars and 43 million Americans. How does that fit under the normal understanding of ‘modifying?'" he said. The court is set to rule on the legality of Biden's plan in June.

Even though he continues to ignore the rulings, Biden has also lost other court battles in his effort to get his loan cancellation plan put into effect. So, the deck seems stacked against him in a number of ways.

The upshot is, even if the CRA does pass and win Biden's signature, it could help the GOP in 2024 by giving them some political capital against the Democrats running.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Warner Todd Huston, The Western Journal



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