US Supreme Court rules on Biden’s $400 billion student debt forgiveness plan

Biden announced in August that the plan would cut up to $20,000 per person. (File)

Washington:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to rule on the legality of President Joe Biden’s groundbreaking effort to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt. The court will hear the case in February or March, according to a brief statement it posted online.

Meanwhile, it refused to overturn a lower court ruling that has put the policy on hold for the time being.

The Democratic president, who has proposed the measure as a boost to the middle class, announced in August that the federal government would cancel much of Americans’ often-crushing student debt, erasing up to $20,000 per person.

According to the White House, some 45 million borrowers across the country collectively owe $1.6 trillion.

The plan, estimated to cost $400 billion over the next decade, was immediately challenged in court by several conservative states, who called the move an abuse of power ahead of the midterm elections.

Last month, a federal appeals court blocked the measure, and current and former college and university students who had already begun filing for the waiver were told their claims were suspended pending legal action.

The White House then asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, hoping it would reverse the earlier decision.

At the same time, the government again extended until June a student debt payment moratorium that was originally introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The White House welcomed the court’s decision to hear the case.

“This program is needed to help more than 40 million eligible Americans struggling under the burden of student loans recover from the pandemic and get on with their lives,” said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“President Biden will continue to fight against efforts to deprive middle-class families of the help they need and deserve,” she said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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