'Exploitative' student-loan companies and GOP groups cannot 'continue to hold borrowers hostage,' a Democratic lawmaker says — and she'll fight for debt relief 'until every legal solution has been exhausted'
- Rep. Cori Bush slammed student-loan company MOHELA for its role in a lawsuit blocking debt relief.
- She previously sent a letter to the company criticizing its involvement in the case.
A Missouri Democrat isn't letting a student-loan company off the hook for the role it played in a lawsuit blocking student-debt relief.
On Wednesday, a coalition of legal experts, advocates, and economists filed a series of amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court in support of President Joe Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt. The plan is currently blocked due to two conservative backed lawsuits so far — one of which was filed by six Republican-led states who argued the debt relief would hurt their states' tax revenues, along with that of student-loan company MOHELA.
On a press call led by the Student Borrower Protection Center, Rep. Cori Bush expressed support for the briefs — and criticize the states', and MOHELA's, role in blocked debt relief for millions of Americans.
"President Biden's authority to provide student debt relief to borrowers is clear," Bush said. "We will not let exploitative servicers like MOHELA, or Republican attorneys general like in Missouri who are spearheading this lawsuit, we won't allow them to continue to hold borrowers hostage."
"I am dedicated to wielding the full powers of congressional oversight to hold MOHELA and other student-loan servicers accountable," she added.
In October, Bush sent a letter to MOHELA requesting information on the extent to which it was involved in the GOP-led lawsuit. "It is unconscionable that your company—as one of the largest student loan companies in the world—would be involved in overtly political efforts to rob millions of their right to student loan debt relief," Bush wrote.
In November, MOHELA responded to Bush by stating that it was not involved with the states' decision to sue — but even though advocates argued that admission should undermine their standing, the lawsuit still moved forward with the states continuing to use MOHELA as a key reason why the debt relief should be blocked.
The Supreme Court is taking up the case on February 28, and Biden's administration, along with other Democratic lawmakers, believe the debt relief is legal and should be upheld in court. Should the relief be struck down, though, the administration has not yet commented on other legal routes it might pursue to get loan forgiveness to millions of borrowers.
Insider previously reported that the Higher Education Act of 1965 could be an alternative path, as it does not require the reliance of a national emergency to cancel student debt — as opposed to the HEROES Act of 2003, which Biden is currently using. Still, Bush emphasized that she will continue fighting for the relief until it's effectively implemented.
"I am prepared to defend the president's student debt relief plan until every legal solution has been exhausted," Bush said.
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