Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) doesn’t have “any doubt” that President Joe Biden has the authority to cancel student debt.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Warren told host Chuck Todd that Biden had the authority since former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump forgave some debt during their tenure. Warren then lashed out at the Texas judge who ruled that canceling debts was illegal, claiming that loan forgiveness was evidence that Democrats fight for working Americans.
“Look, I’d be delighted to codify what the president is doing, but here’s the key: I don’t have any doubt that the president has the legal authority to cancel this student loan debt,” said Warren. “President Trump did it, President Obama did it, and President Biden has actually done it up to now on student loan debt payments. But, we have a court down in Texas, and if they’re gonna play politics instead of actually following the law, they do put the program at risk.”
“This is one of the clearest differences between Democrats and Republicans,” she added. “Democrats, led by Joe Biden, are out there saying, ‘we hear you on what it’s like to get crushed by student loan debt. We know what that means and so we’re here to try to help.’ The Republicans? They got nothin’. They say, ‘nope,’ the only people that they’re willing to fight for are billionaires and billionaire corporations and conspiracy theorists. Democrats fight for working people and when we fight for working people, we win.”
WATCH: @SenWarren (D-Mass.) says she has no doubt President Biden has the authority to carry out his student debt forgiveness plan.
"If [the Texas court is] going to play politics instead of following the law, they're going to put the program at risk." pic.twitter.com/1tpaNhHuHs
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) November 13, 2022
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas declared Biden’s student loan bailout unlawful and vacated Biden’s plan to cancel up to $10,000 in debt for people making less than $125,000 a year or families that earn less than $250,000.
“Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine,” Pittman wrote in his ruling. “Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.”
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” Pittman continued. “Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government. As President James Madison warned, ‘[t]he accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.’”
The Biden administration has since appealed that ruling.