Joe Biden vowed the “fight was not over” after the US supreme court ruled against his landmark student debt forgiveness plan.
“I think the court misinterpreted the constitution,” President Biden said, delivering remarks at the White House and announcing his intention to pivot to another law to find another path forward.
The 6-3 decision from the court dealt a blow to an estimated 40 million borrowers who had hoped the $430bn plan would allow the 2003 Heroes Act to help curb the ongoing costs of their education. The law gave the secretary of education authority to make changes to any provision of applicable student aid program laws in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Biden said 16 million people had already been approved for the program, which would have given them $10,000 to $20,000 in relief.
“More homes would’ve been bought, more businesses would’ve been started,” President Biden said.
Biden promised to now turn to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to restore student debt relief. He also plans to enact a 12-month repayment program that would help people with student debt avoid defaulting on their loans if they couldn’t pay and avoid years of bad credit ratings.
But the supreme court decision struck down a major tenet of the Biden administration’s program with the 2024 election quickly approaching. Helping combat student debt was one of Biden’s campaign vows, especially to progressive voters in his base.
Asked if he had failed to deliver on his promise, Biden reacted quickly. “I didn’t give any false hope,” he said. “Republicans snatched away the hope that was given.”
Biden also doubled down on what he called the “hypocrisy of Republican elected officials” in an earlier statement. He pointed to the higher cost of the paycheck protection program approved by Republicans in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic-era program gave businesses loans for their payroll and allowed the principal of the loan to be partially or fully forgiven. The program benefited some members of Congress.
“They had no problem with billions in pandemic-related loans to businesses – including hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of dollars for their own businesses. And those loans were forgiven,” Biden said in the statement. “But when it came to providing relief to millions of hard-working Americans, they did everything in their power to stop it. It’s only about forgiving loans they have to pay.”
Source: The Guardian