President Biden’s Department of Education has removed the student debt relief application from its website, a day after a federal judge on Thursday declared the student loan forgiveness program unlawful.
The application to apply for student loan relief is now blocked following the court order.
“Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders,” the website reads, adding that it is holding the applications of those who have already applied for relief.
The move follows former President Donald Trump appointee Judge Mark Pittman striking down the Biden administration’s student debt transfer program, which he announced in August, months ahead of the midterm election.
Under the original plan, those making under $125,000 annually would be eligible to have $20,000 forgiven if they went to college on Pell Grants. Those who did not go to college on Pell Grants would be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness:
Pittman ultimately ruled in favor of the conservative advocacy group Job Creators Network, “which brought suit on behalf of two student loan borrowers,” as Breitbart News reported.
Pittman stated in part:
The Constitution vests “all legislative powers” in Congress. This power, however, can be delegated to the executive branch. But if the executive branch seeks to use that delegated power to create a law of vast economic and political significance, it must have clear congressional authorization. If not, the executive branch unconstitutionally exercises “legislative powers” vested in Congress. In this case, the HEROES Act — a law to provide loan assistance to military personnel defending our nation — does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program.
The Trump appointee even quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who noted the president “does not” have “the power for debt forgiveness.”
“Under our system of government, public policy is typically made by the Congress through a negotiated-and-reasoned process among the members, with input from the president,” Pittman said. “And based on how Congress legislated, those members would then be held accountable by their constituents each election cycle.”
Notably, the pause on student loan payments ends in December.
The case is Brown v. Department of Education, No. 4:22-cv-0908 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.