WASHINGTON (Gray, DC) – Millions of borrowers are left in limbo as the president’s student loan forgiveness program remains suspended after the attorneys general of six Republican-led states sued to end the program.
“Unfortunately, there are several Republican leaders who are trying to sue us to prevent this from happening,” U.S. Secretary Miguel Cardona said in an interview with Washington News Bureau reporter Jamie Bittner on Thursday. He added: “We recognize that some of these cases are not serious. However, because of these Republicans, we can’t collect on the debt. But we will continue to fight in court to make sure that once the suspension is lifted, we can deliver for the benefit of the American people.”
A lower court initially sided with the president to allow the student loan forgiveness program to continue. However, an appeal was filed and a stay is pending.
The legal challenge to the program was filed by the Republican attorneys general of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina.
Learn more about the 6-state subpoena here
When asked his message to the millions of people waiting for help, Cardona said, “My message is to pay attention to what’s going on in your community, who’s trying to block it, and make sure you recognize who is trying to help you. And who prevents or tries to prevent us from helping you. I would tell them to remain confident that we are doing our best to fight for them every day. We’re meeting with our lawyers, the White House lawyers, the Justice Department to make sure our position is very clear. And I’m confident that we have the ability to do what we’re doing, just as we provided debt relief to those who had small businesses and needed support.”
The Biden administration believes they have a solid legal footing because they operate under a 2003 law known as the HERO Act (Higher Education Assistance Opportunity Act). The act was passed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to help veterans affected by September 11 and people affected by national emergencies.
When the lawsuit was first filed, Washington News Bureau reporter Jamie Bittner asked Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge why she thought the HEROES Act should not apply in the case.
Rutledge said, “Frankly, it’s shameful that President Biden is using the HEROES Act, which was designed to provide financial assistance to our brave men and women in the military, and those who are taking on these debts and challenges during an emergency in the country. President Biden announced just a few weeks ago that the pandemic was over. Perhaps President Biden forgot that he said the pandemic ended when he used the HEROES Act instead of using the HEROES Act to support our brave men and women in the military.”
She also thinks the program is unfair.
“Every American is hurting because of President Biden’s plan to cancel student loans,” Rutledge said. “Now it’s putting the debt on those adults who decided to go to college, who decided to take out those loans, now it’s putting that debt on the backs of hard-working electricians, plumbers, teachers, nurses.”
The U.S. Department of Education will continue accepting applications for the president’s student loan forgiveness program during the court recess. However, he cannot issue any relief until the case is resolved.
The Minister of Education said that if the court cancels the arrest, they are ready to send this help.
“We’re ready to go,” Cardona said. “We just need to get that deadline lifted so we can do it. We could fulfill what the president gave.”
The department has processed 16 million of the 26 million applications it has received so far.
To learn more about student loan forgiveness, go to studentaid.gov.
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