Biden proposes new student-loan measures after court defeat

In response to criticism from Americans and disapproval of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to prevent the implementation of a widely supported proposal to eliminate a significant amount of debt, President Joe Biden unveiled new initiatives on Friday aimed at offering assistance for student loans.

The Department of Education has launched a regulatory “rulemaking” process that is likely to take months. President Biden told reporters that his administration would pursue a different avenue through the Higher Education Act to provide relief for student loans, but his efforts were thwarted by the conservative-leaning court.

The decision, which was embraced by Republicans, posed a threat to undermine a portion of the policy objectives of the Democratic president. In a Friday ruling, with a majority vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court halted Biden’s proposal to eliminate $430 billion in student loan debt.

Biden expressed that his administration would actively seek an alternative approach to accomplish his objective.

“I will continue to advocate for the needs of borrowers, especially those who are in the lower economic bracket. I view the court’s ruling to invalidate my program for relieving student debt as an error and a misjudgment. However, we will now embark on a new approach,” Biden informed journalists. “Although one avenue has been closed with today’s decision.”

As part of the overall plan, the Department of Education finalized a program to help borrowers with undergraduate loans save $1,000 a year, which would enable them to pay 5% of their monthly discretionary income towards their payments.

A perk designed to assist graduates of community colleges – loan forgiveness will be provided to borrowers with debts of $12,000 or lower after a decade of payments instead of two decades.

The coalition of progressive voters, who are part of the coalition that helped elect Biden in 2020, have long put pressure on the White House to address the student loan debt, which has further intensified calls for action on the court’s decision.

Following Biden’s speech, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, a prominent advocate for progressive policies, tweeted that the President should employ additional measures to alleviate student debt – and it is imperative for him to do so, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Twitter said, “We’re looking at an economic crisis where we must use it and we still have the power to use it, millions of people.” Ocasio-Cortez, the Progressive Democrat in the House, urged Biden and the Higher Education authorities to continue using the Education Higher Act for loan forgiveness, before resuming payments after a pause.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted this year, it was found that 81% of Democrats expressed their support for Biden’s initial plan for student loan forgiveness, whereas approximately 53% of the American population shared the same sentiment.

In 2022, the court’s decision to invalidate abortion rights had a similar effect as the court’s ruling to invalidate abortion rights did in 2022, with the expectation that conservative decisions from the court regarding debt relief and affirmative action or race-conscious college admission considerations would energize them. Democrats hope that voters will perceive Biden’s efforts to advocate for student debt relief as he prepares for his re-election campaign in 2024.

The elected Republican officials blasted Biden for supporting student debt relief, but eventually forgiving loans that were supporting businesses in the pandemic-related billions of dollars. The White House made it clear that putting the blame on Republicans for stymieing efforts to relieve student loan debt.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona revealed in a briefing with reporters that a few Republican lawmakers were granted forgiveness for millions of dollars in pandemic-related loans.

Republicans contended that Biden’s original plan for relieving student loans was unconstitutional and unjust.

Ronna McDaniel, the Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), expressed in a statement that the student loan rescue plan proposed by Biden unjustly penalized individuals who had already repaid their debts, diligently set aside funds for higher education, or pursued alternative career paths. Additionally, we appreciate the Supreme Court’s actions, as it revealed that this desperate attempt to secure votes was not fooling the American people.

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.