Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit Thursday to block the Biden administration’s decision to write off hundreds of billions of dollars in student loans.
Brnovich, a Republican, said Biden acted without congressional approval and that his action conflicts with US Supreme Court decisions that have prevented federal agencies from taking action not authorized by Congress. His demand points to President Biden and the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona.
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“This massive debt forgiveness program is fundamentally unfair, unconstitutional and reckless,” Brnovich said. “The question Americans need to ask is why does college cost so much in the first place?”
President Biden announced that his administration would write off between $10,000 and $20,000 in student loan debt for people who earn less than $125,000 each year individually or $250,000 as a family. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that Biden’s plan would cost the government $400 billion, but Brnovich and others have said costs could skyrocket even higher.
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Republicans have emphasized that Biden’s measure does not write off the debt, but instead transfers it to the government’s books and puts taxpayers on the hook for that amount. More broadly, the GOP has argued that high federal spending rates and new borrowing are actions that have contributed to the high levels of inflation that have plagued consumers over the past year.
The White House has said that the loan installment is paid for by deficit reduction that was already underway before the installment was announced.
Brnovich’s filing in the US District Court for the District of Arizona notes that Biden used the COVID pandemic to legally justify his decision to have the government take on student loan debt. But he also noted that Biden said in an interview this month that “the pandemic is over.”
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“Despite the President’s repeated assertion that the ‘pandemic is over,’ the Administration still views the pandemic as a useful pretext for adopting policies that would otherwise be arguably illegal,” Brnovich argued. “So it’s here. The defendants are taking advantage of the pandemic they otherwise acknowledge is over to attempt to execute the most expensive pen stroke in this nation’s history.”
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The filing claims that Biden exceeded his authority, made arbitrary decisions about the amount of loan relief, and violated the Constitution by ignoring Congress’ right to set spending priorities. He asked the court to issue an order declaring Biden’s measure a violation and prohibiting its application.
Earlier this week, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation sued the Department of Education over the debt forgiveness plan in the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.