Heritage Action Urges Consideration of Biden’s Student Loan Bailout CRA

Blog Articles · Mar 29, 2023 · Budget and Spending

Debt does not simply disappear. There is no such thing as student loan debt “forgiveness” or “cancellation” - there is only shifting the burden of paying that debt to someone else. The Biden Administration’s debt-shifting scheme would benefit the wealthy elite while simultaneously punishing responsible Americans, driving up inflation, and failing to address the real problems in higher education.

The justification of this sweeping executive action was constructed in a legal memo from the Department of Justice to the Department of Education last August - just ahead of the midterm elections. Subsequently, the Department of Education issued a rule updating certain waivers and modifications of statutory and regulatory provisions using the justification and interpretation of that August memo.

In the rule, the Biden administration claimed this broad legal authority through the COVID-19 national emergency status in conjunction with a 2003 emergency-powers law (HEROES Act), which passed in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Last month, the Supreme Court heard two cases challenging the executive action exploiting this law - meant to provide relief to first responders and military personnel after 9/11 - to transfer $430 billion in student loan debt to American taxpayers.

Several legal analyses refute the constitutionality of this executive action and the legal arguments have largely been persuasive. However, putting aside the issues of unfairness and legal standing, there remains a question of whether Congress ever intended the HEROES Act to be used as the primary legal authority to wipe out student loan debt for more than 95% of borrowers. The Biden administration’s bailout plan is about more than just student loan borrowers. It would transform what Congress intended as loans into taxpayer-funded grants - an action never before taken under the HEROES Act.

After a recent determination from the Government Accountability Office that this policy is subject to the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress must now assert its intent by supporting Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La) and Congressman Bob Good’s (R-Va.) CRA resolution (S.J.Res. 22/ H.J.Res. 45) - preventing implementation of this student loan bailout.