President Joe Biden has once again extended the pause on student loan payments, this time until June 2023, citing the ongoing court battle over the legality of the president’s attempted student debt forgiveness plan.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced that the student loan payment pause would be extended until “no later than June 30, 2023.”
The administration is currently in the process of fighting against a lawsuit led by Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Two federal courts have since struck down Biden’s debt forgiveness plan in response to the legal challenge.
In October, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an administrative stay to block the program pending appeal. Then, Texas federal Judge Mark Pittman declared the debt forgiveness plan to be unlawful earlier this month.
Biden announced his plan in August, which would have canceled up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year or couples earning less than $250,000. At that time, the president also extended the pause on student loan payments “one final time” until December 31.
The payments have been paused since March 2020. The pause has been extended six times since it was first issued by former President Donald Trump as part of his efforts to alleviate the economic effects of the COVID pandemic.
According to reporting from Breitbart News, “The payments will resume 60 days after Biden’s Department of Education is allowed to implement the program or when the litigation is resolved, whichever comes first. If the litigation is not resolved by the June 30 deadline, borrowers must begin making payments 60 days after that date.”
In a tweet, Biden argued that his plan to forgive student debt without the approval of Congress “is legal,” claiming that the only reason it is being held up is because “Republican officials want to block it.”
“I’m confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it’s on hold because Republican officials want to block it. That’s why @SecCardona is extending the payment pause to no later than June 30, 2023, giving the Supreme Court time to hear the case in its current term,” the president tweeted.
I'm confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it’s on hold because Republican officials want to block it.
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 22, 2022
In an email sent to those who applied for student debt forgiveness, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the lawsuits “meritless” — while telling applicants that they are “approved” for debt relief and that their debt will be discharged “if and when we prevail in court.”
“Unfortunately, a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the program, which have blocked our ability to discharge your debt at present,” the email read. “We believe strongly that the lawsuits are meritless, and the Department of Justice has appealed on our behalf. Your application is complete and approved, and we will discharge your approved debt if and when we prevail in court. We will update you when there are new developments.”
Truly bizarre. Biden is sending emails telling people they are "approved" for his illegal student loan discharge that's already been blocked in court. https://t.co/4uLpCN22qV
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) November 21, 2022