Biden's administration just asked the Supreme Court to reinstate its student-loan forgiveness plan to 'avoid prolonging this uncertainty for the millions of affected borrowers'
- The Biden administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to revive its student-debt relief plan.
- It comes after a lower federal court ruled on Monday to keep the relief paused.
President Joe Biden's student-loan forgiveness plan once again arrives at the Supreme Court.
The Department of Justice on Friday urged the nation's highest court to allow the president's plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers to move forward after a lower federal court halted the program.
In the filing, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar calls on the Supreme Court to lift the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling handed down on Monday, which maintained a pause on the debt relief indefinitely. The court initially paused the program from taking effect in October, siding with six Republican-led states that claimed the debt relief would hurt their states' tax revenues and should be blocked.
The 8th Circuit's decision "leaves millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo, uncertain about the size of their debt and unable to make financial decisions with an accurate understanding of their future repayment obligations," Prelogar wrote.
Failure to restart the implementation of the debt relief, Prelogar continued, could trigger "severe financial consequences" for borrowers who are at risk of defaulting on their loans when student-loan payments are scheduled to resume after December 31.
The Biden administration also told the Supreme Court that the appeal can be considered a formal petition for a full briefing on the dispute "to avoid prolonging this uncertainty for the millions of affected borrowers," Prelogar wrote. If granted, such a scenario would mean the justices would schedule and hear oral arguments on the case and then hand down a decision, a process that could take months.
Friday's appeal marks the third time Biden's student-debt forgiveness program has come before the nation's highest court. Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett in recent weeks dismissed two challenges to block the relief.
A federal judge in Texas last week also blocked Biden's debt relief and declared it illegal, and the Biden administration filed an appeal to that case, as well.
Since Biden announced the one-time debt cancellation in August, a number of conservative lawsuits have attempted to block the debt relief. Given the lower courts' rulings blocking the relief, it's unclear how the Supreme Court will intervene.
For now, the 26 million borrowers who have already applied for debt relief remain in limbo, and the Education Department indicated that it is not accepting any new applications at this time — but it remains confident that it will ultimately prevail in legal battles. It's also "examining" extending the student-loan payment pause to ensure borrowers are not thrown into repayment without the relief they were promised.
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