Appeals court temporarily blocks Biden’s student debt relief program

A federal appeals court temporarily blocked President Biden’s student debt relief program on Friday, preventing federal debt relief as efforts by six Republican states to stop the program play out in court.

Driving the news: The decision comes a day after a lower court threw out the states’ lawsuit, which claims the Biden administration overstepped its authority with its plan to cancel up to $20,000 per person for more than 40 million people.

  • The coalition of Republican states said in its complaint that the Biden administration should not have established the forgiveness program without going through Congress, arguing that the plan will undercut revenue for state entities that rely on federal student loans for profit.
  • But U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey wrote in a 19-page ruling that the states lack standing to litigate the case and fail to establish any “ongoing harm” caused by the program.
  • “While Plaintiffs present important and substantial challenges to the debt restructuring plan, the current Plaintiffs are unable to advance the resolution of those challenges,” wrote Autrey, a George W. Bush nominee. “These future lost tax revenues are only speculative.”

The big picture: The order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit is a blow to millions of borrowers who began applying this week after the application website went live.

Worth nothing: The Supreme Court declined to block Biden’s program in a separate case involving a conservative tax group this week.

What’s next: The Biden administration has until 6:00 PM EST on Monday to respond in opposition.

Editor’s note: This is a news story. Please check back for updates.

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