President Joe Biden’s administration has developed a convoluted way to “legally” cancel student debt thanks to a law intended for 9/11 heroes, but it also undermines his boast touting the strongest American economy ever.
While folks like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have argued that the president has no legal authority to wipe out said debts, Biden apparently thinks he found a way under a law passed after 9/11 — which was intended to assist first responders and other Americans impacted during national emergencies.
According to a legal memo sent to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Tuesday, the Biden administration’s legal counsel claims that the “Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (‘HEROES’) Act of 2003 grants the Secretary authority that could be used to effectuate a program of targeted loan cancellation directed at addressing the financial harms of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The memo claimed, “The HEROES Act, first enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks, provides the Secretary broad authority to grant relief from student loan requirements during specific periods (a war, other military operation, or national emergency, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic) and for specific purposes (including to address the financial harms of such a war, other military operation, or emergency).”
The Biden administration also pointed that the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations have used the HEROES Act to provide economic relief to borrowers in connection with “a war, other military operation, or national emergency.” That included the “ongoing moratorium on student loan payments and interest,” which began during the pandemic under President Donald Trump.
In 2020, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos used the HEROES Act to place a hold on student loan interest and payments. However, prior to leaving office, her legal counsel decided in a memo that the education department was limited in its authority as it related to the pandemic and student debt, something that the Biden administration disagrees with.
“The January 2021 memorandum’s interpretation of ‘modify’ would read the Act to authorize the Secretary to waive entirely or to make non-major changes in the relevant statutory or regulatory provisions, but not authorize the Secretary to do anything in between,” the Biden administration claimed.
“That interpretation is illogical, and nothing in the HEROES Act’s broad grant of authority supports such a reading,” the education department’s legal counsel added.
Regardless of the legal implications — which will undoubtedly be played out in the courts and debated by constitutional scholars — the logic behind the move at this point in the COVID pandemic makes little to no sense.
Biden has spent the summer bragging that the American economy was strengthened by his bills like the American Rescue Plan, as well as the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act. His team consistently boasted about the supposed historic economy under his watch. He has even promised that we will come out of the pandemic better than when we went into it.
If that is the case, then why is student debt forgiveness needed?
If this cancellation wasn’t warranted before COVID hit American shores, then it certainly wouldn’t be needed after it has already swept through if we really are better off under Bidenomics.
Of course, the economy is not as great as the president has claimed — obviously.
Yet Biden is trying to have it both ways with his debt cancellation. The American worker is both so saddled by the impact of the coronavirus yet so prosperous thanks to his policies.
It makes no sense. The justification does not have to make sense. It just has to satiate the Democratic Party’s base right before the midterms.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.