President Joe Biden pledged throughout the campaign to “shut the virus down.” His advisers believed he had hit across a profound proverb about preventing another government shutdown, so he kept repeating it. Now, nearly two years into his presidency, Biden is trying to abruptly waive up to $20,000 in Pell Grant student loan debt or $10,000 in other loans by exercising presidential authority he claims he possesses under the 2003 HEROES Act.
In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, President Trump proclaimed a national emergency on March 13, 2020, using Sec. 501(b) of the Stafford Act.
By exercising this authority, Biden is at odds with the legal reasoning that his own administration made earlier this year in support of the proclamation. The Biden administration appealed against Trump’s Title 42 immigration laws in a federal district court in Louisiana back in May. The border restriction was implemented to send migrants back to Mexico because of the public health crisis, but Biden’s officials argued that it should be lifted.
Biden’s legal case for canceling student loans under the auspices of the HEROES Act seems to have been undermined by this argument. What is the status of the pandemic, and when will we hear from the president? Is the public health emergency he’s using to justify his personal abuse of power still ongoing or has he successfully contained the virus, set the country back on the path to economic recovery, and made significant strides forward? In order to appease a voting bloc in advance of the midterm elections, the government has shifted its definition of a recession, and now its officials are doing the same with the COVID emergency-to-nonemergency flip.
When asked about his claim to fulfill a campaign pledge by canceling $20,000 in student loans, Biden said that he was doing so by exercising emergency powers, which is another lie. All reporters and editors would be interested in the answers to these questions.
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Nationally, it appears that few journalists are concerned with this issue. One of them is Fox News’ White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich, who questioned White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the administration’s hypocrisy.
“The HEROES Act hinges on student debt … being tied to the pandemic and that being a national emergency, but the administration argued in court that [it’s] over … So, how is … COVID a national emergency when it comes to student debt?” she probed.
JACQUI TIME: “The Heroes Act hinges on student debt…being tied to the pandemic & that being a national emergency, but the administration argued in court that [it’s] over…So, how is…COVID a national emergency when it comes to student debt?”
KJP: “It’s a very good question” pic.twitter.com/JmwUD97jjc
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 25, 2022
Besides Biden obviously abusing a loophole and acting unconstitutionally, Jean-Pierre had no good response. “Some folks are … going to have a little bit harder time [with payments] … though … the economy has been turned back on because of the work [Biden] has done,” Jean-Pierre replied. This presidency’s equivocation has made COVID either an acute emergency or an irrelevant nonissue.
President Biden activates and deactivates the pandemic crisis as he and his White House administration see proper to further pet causes. He or any future president can abuse his or her authority in an infinite number of ways under this national proclamation. Even though Biden is trying to take credit for “shutting down the virus,” no legacy journalist seems interested in holding this government or this president accountable for the apparent contradiction. As a last resort, impeachment is the only way to stop President Biden and subsequent presidents from misusing the national emergency proclamation.