On August 24, 2023, Biden signed an executive order to implement a plan to forgive student loan debt. From the very beginning of planning the legality of such an order has been questioned. Even the Biden Administration was skeptical and unsure of its legality. During a CNN town hall a couple of years ago, Biden stated, “I don’t think I have the authority to do it by signing with a pen…” President Barack Obama’s former top Education Department lawyer believed Biden would be on shaky legal ground if he were to pursue broad-based student debt cancellation by executive action.
Per the Wall Street Journal, Biden’s executive action was initially buttressed by the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act which “…gives the gives the education secretary sweeping authority to cancel student loans to address financial hardship arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.” The 2003 statute gives the head of the Education Department the capability to waive or modify federal student-loan provisions during war or a national emergency. We are not at war, and there is not a national emergency.
The constitution Cleary dictates that Congress has sole power to legislate fiscal issues such as forgiving debt. In the United States, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
Biden has clearly overstepped his constitutional authority by assuming he can erase student debt at the swipe of a pen. I believe his intention behind this initiative is to pander to millennials and buy their votes. It seems to have driven them to the polls to vote democrat during the 2022 midterms. These freeloading students who don’t want to pay the debt they chose to incur, are going to learn this the hard way.