US judge in Texas scraps Biden’s loan forgiveness plan

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A U.S. judge in Texas on Thursday blocked President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive millions of borrowers up to $20,000 apiece on federal student loans — a program already pending as a federal appeals court St. Louis is considering a separate lawsuit by six states contesting it.

District Court Judge Mark Pittman, an appointee to former President Donald Trump based in Fort Worth, said the program usurped the power of Congress to legislate.

“In this country we are not governed by an all-powerful executive branch with pen and phone. Instead, we are governed by a constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government,” Pittman wrote.

He added: “The Court is not blind to the current political divisions in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our republic that the separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution is preserved.”

The debt relief plan would eliminate $10,000 in student loan debt for those earning less than $125,000 or households earning less than $250,000. Pell Grant recipients, who typically have higher financial needs, would receive an additional $10,000 in debt relief.

The termination applies to federal student loans used to attend elementary and high schools, as well as Parent Plus loans.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals put the forgiveness plan on hold Oct. 21 while considering an effort by the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas and South Carolina to block the program.

While the stay temporarily prevented the administration from actually paying debts, the White House has encouraged borrowers to continue filing for relief because the court order did not prevent applications or the consideration of applications. By the end of October, more than 22 million borrowers had applied for debt relief.

The White House did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment. US judge in Texas scraps Biden’s loan forgiveness plan

Sarah Y. Kim

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