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Biden’s Law Justification For Canceling Student Debt is Wrong and Insane

While President Joe Biden has been boasting about the greatest American economy ever, his government has devised a complicated mechanism to “legally” eliminate student debt thanks to legislation designed for 9/11 heroes. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and others have declared the president has the authority to forgive such debts. Still, President Joe Biden claims he has found a method to do so thanks to a statute created after 9/11 to aid first heroes and other Americans harmed by national emergencies. 

Attorneys for the Biden administration wrote a memo to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Tuesday, arguing that Cardona has the power to implement an initiative of directed loan cancellation to resolve the financial harms of the COVID-19 pandemic under the “Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (‘HEROES’ Act of 2003).

The memo claimed, “The HEROES Act, first enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks, provides the Secretary broad authority to grant relief from student loan requirements during specific periods (a war, other military operation, or national emergency, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic) and for specific purposes (including to address the financial harms of such a war, other military operation, or emergency).”

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Borrowers who experienced financial hardship because of “a war, other military activity, or national emergency” were eligible for HEROES Act relief under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, as the Biden administration noted. In the midst of the outbreak, President Trump instituted a “continuing freeze on student loan payments and interest.”

Using the HEROES Act, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos froze interest and payments on student loans in 2020. Her legal team concluded in a memo before she left office that the Education Department lacked the jurisdiction to address the epidemic and student debt. This position is at odds with that of the Biden administration. 

According to the Biden administration, “the Act would read the Secretary to authorize the Secretary to waive entirely or to make non-major changes in the relevant statutory or regulatory provisions, but not authorize the Secretary to do anything in between.” This is in reference to the interpretation of “modify” in the January 2021 document.

The legal advisor to the Department of Education remarked, “that interpretation is illogical, and nothing in the HEROES Act’s broad grant of authority supports such a reading.

The reasoning behind the decision at this juncture in the COVID epidemic is questionable at best, despite the legal implications, which will likely be fought out in the courts and contested by legal experts. 

Biden has spent a couple of months boasting that his bills, such as the American Rescue Plan and the recently approved Inflation Reduction Act, have boosted the American economy. His staff regularly made hyperbolic claims about the supposedly record-breaking economy he oversaw. He’s even assured us that after the pandemic, things would be even better than they were before.

If that’s the case, then there’s no use in canceling student loans. If we are indeed better off under Bidenomics, then there is no reason to cancel the debts since, before the spread of COVID across the United States, there was also no need for the cancellation. The economy is certainly not booming, as the president has said.

Biden, though, is playing both sides of the debt cancellation fence. Workers in the United States are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus while benefiting from his initiatives. It makes no sense. The explanation need not make any sense. It needs to appease diehard Democrats before the midterms.