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Tipsheet

Biden Reverses Course on Student Loan Repayment

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday afternoon that the federal government would be, yet again, extending the pause on repayments for Americans' student loans until the end of June 2023 in what is now the latest instance of Biden going back on his word.

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In a video tweeted by the White House, President Joe Biden blamed "Republican special interests and elected officials" who "sued to deny this relief, even for their own constituents," but still maintained he is "completely confident my plan is legal," offering a dubious promise that his administration is "not going to back down."

"It isn't fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit," Biden said, ignoring the fact that his plan to burden every taxpayer with the debts of a small minority of student loan borrowers is the definition of unfair.

Biden's decision — in addition to dragging out another COVID-triggered policy despite Biden's repeated statements that the U.S. previously won "independence" from the virus and that the pandemic is "over" — is also a major reversal for President Biden. 

Not so long ago, when Biden last extended the repayment pause until December 31, 2022, the president declared that the "student loan payments pause is going to end," citing his administration's actions that "wound down pandemic relief programs like the ones for unemployment insurance and small businesses. It’s time we do the same thing for student loans," Biden said on August 25. "It’s time for the payments to resume."

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But, like many promises Biden has made, this one didn't last. 

As Fox News' Peter Doocy reasoned from the White House's north lawn as the news broke, Biden and his administration are likely "worried that a new Republican Congress may take further efforts to delay or kill his plan to forgive some student debt," so Biden has decided to "do what he can as the president with the pen and extend the pause" another six months — despite declaring that payments would resume in January.

Biden's efforts to "forgive" the student debt held by millions of Americans to the tune of $400 billion in cost to taxpayers were quickly intercepted by courts across the country who ruled that he lacked the authority to, as Democrats argue, erase student debts owed by Americans. 

Even though the Biden administration closed its application portal where borrowers could submit their information to receive the benefit, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has insisted that lawsuits challenging the plan are "meritless" and promised debtors who already applied that "we will discharge your approved debt if and when we prevail in court."

The next stop for the cases challenging Biden's student debt reallocation plan is appealing to the Supreme Court, where his administration has not fared well on a number of COVID-related cases, including Biden's vaccine mandate for private employers and his attempt to extend the eviction moratorium. 

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Ultimately, the Biden DOJ appealing to the Supreme Court to allow the plan to move forward may be optics to be able to argue that the administration did everything it could to make their promises to millions of Americans a reality, despite the fact that the plan has looked — from the start — like a transparently political stunt aimed at exciting young voters before the midterms. 

But, much like Biden's pledge that repayment would begin on January 1, 2023, it appears Biden's promises of millions of dollars in debt being lifted from millions of Americans was doomed to be another broken Biden promise. 

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