On Friday, the Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan which would have eliminated up to $20,000 of federal student debt for borrowers earning up to $125,000 annually, or up to $250,000 for married couples.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision for a 6-3 court. The majority ruled that the program was an unlawful exercise of presidential power because it had not been explicitly approved by Congress.
The Biden administration sought to use the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, or HEROES Act to waive the debt. The law says the government can provide relief to recipients of student loans when there is a “national emergency,” allowing it to act to ensure people are not in “a worse position financially” as a result of the emergency.
Roberts said the HEROES Act language was not specific enough. “The Secretary’s comprehensive debt cancellation plan cannot fairly be called a waiver – it not only nullifies existing provisions, but augments and expands them dramatically,” Roberts wrote. “However broad the meaning of ‘waive or modify,’ that language cannot authorize the kind of exhaustive rewriting of the statute that has taken place here.”
According to CNN, Biden will announce new actions to protect student loan borrowers when he speaks later Friday.
“I will stop at nothing to find other ways to deliver relief to hard-working middle-class families,” Biden said in a statement. “My administration will continue to work to bring the promise of higher education to every American.”