WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Monday to take a second appeal dealing with President Joe Biden’s $400 billion student loan forgiveness plan.
The decision means the high court will hear two cases on the program as soon as February as the administration seeks to revive an effort that could affect 40 million Americans holding student debt.
The latest case appealed an order from the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which let stand a lower court ruling that had blocked the program’s implementation and declared it unlawful.
The Biden administration has extended a pause on student loan payments until as late as June 30, 2023.
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The lawsuit was filed by the conservative-leaning Job Creators Network Foundation, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan organization founded by entrepreneurs who believe the best defense against bad government policies is a well-informed public.” U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled on Nov. 10 that the debt relief effort violated the law and he blocked its implementation nationwide.
The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear arguments in a case from the St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit that blocked the implementation of the loan forgiveness program.
Biden created the debt relief plan under the HEROES Act, which was passed after 9/11 sparked an American-led military campaign against terrorism. The act gave the administration authority to forgive student loan debt in association with military operations or national emergencies. Biden was able to invoke the law because he had already declared a national emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the president’s plan, borrowers would be eligible for up to $10,000 or $20,000 in debt relief, depending on their income and whether they received a Pell Grant in college. Borrowers must earn less than $125,000 a year or reside in households that make no more than $250,000. As many as 40 million people would qualify for Biden’s plan, and some would see their entire balance erased.
Contributing: Chris Quintana.