(UnitedVoice.com) – In 2020, Democrats called loudly for the elimination of student debt. In February, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded President Biden use executive power to cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower. The administration initially said it didn’t have that authority but then added a slight retraction.
Last spring, Biden said he believed he could wipe out $10,000 of student loan debt per borrower. He instructed the Department of Education (DOE) to research the matter. On Wednesday, September 9, four Republicans forwarded Education Secretary Miguel Cardona a letter expressing grave Constitutional concerns. They warned the administration about any measure the administration might take to eliminate student loan debt.
Biden Wipes Out $9 Billion in Student Loan Debt
The US government currently owns approximately $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt. Over the last six months, the Biden administration eliminated $9 billion of it using its legal authority. The president used pre-existing forgiveness programs established in law. In March, the administration announced it would cancel over $1 billion in student loans for 72,000 people through the Borrower Defense to Repayment Program. It allows the federal government to forgive loans of students defrauded by schools. This program is not the concern of the four Republicans. Instead, they are trying to warn the administration that might follow through on the Left’s agenda.
Reps. Ted Budd (R-NC), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Scott Perry (R-PA) and Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) asked the Education Secretary for his commitment to upholding the rule of law established by Congress. They warned eliminating any student loan debt outside of what’s allowed by Congress is a gross violation of the separation of powers.
Additionally, the Republican Congressmen said it would also be an insult to the millions of Americans who assumed student loan debt and “responsibly repaid their loan balances.”
DOJ Already Determined Lack of Authority
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice (DOJ) determined then-Secretary of Education Nancy DeVos didn’t have the authority to cancel student loan balances. However, Democrats argue the decision of the Trump DOJ does not bind the Biden administration. That might be true. However, if the Trump DOJ followed the laws as written, Biden and Cardona are also bound by law.
The four Congressman wrote the DOJ settled the matter on loan forgiveness. Additionally, they cited the US Constitution’s establishment of the role of Congress in the issue. Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 states Congress has the exclusive power to specify what the government spends money on, the amounts, and the timing of disbursements. Additionally, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 states, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”
If the administration violates the Constitution, the courts will step in after objectors file a challenge. In recent years, Supreme Court rulings about the separation of powers have been evident. The justices often overturn executive powers that overstep a president’s boundaries, stating only Congress can settle the matter.
So, unless Congress steps in to eliminate student debt, Joe Biden is boxed into a corner, regardless of how loud the Left screams. Lawmakers should know the rules. Democrats cry abuse of power against Republican presidents regularly. It appears Democrats believe it’s okay for a president to go beyond the law when it’s one of their own.
Is the matter settled?
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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