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Federal Judge Blocks Key Parts in Biden’s Student Loan Repayment Plan

On June 24, federal judges in Missouri and Kansas issued separate rulings blocking key parts of the Biden administration’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) program. The initiative aims to reduce student loan payments and forgive debts.

A new version of the program that would reduce payments and shorten maximum repayment periods was set to take effect in July.

U.S. District Judge Michael Crabtree in Kansas ruled that Republican-led states were likely to prevail in their argument that the department did not have clear congressional authority to implement this aspect of the program.

“Defendants have offered colorable, plausible interpretations of the Higher Education Act that could authorize the SAVE Plan, but those interpretations fall short of clear congressional authorization,” Judge Crabtree wrote on Monday.

However, he chose not to halt the entire program, citing concerns about the feasibility of undoing parts of the plan already in effect. He also noted that Republicans’ delay in filing their lawsuits weakened their argument for an urgent need to stop the entire program.

The ruling noted the judge’s reluctance to issue a nationwide injunction.

On the same day, in another ruling, U.S. District Judge John Ross of the Eastern District of Missouri, appointed by President Obama, blocked the Department from forgiving any additional loans under SAVE until he reaches a final decision on the case. His order stated that these actions could potentially deprive state loan operators of revenue.

Judge Ross also suggested that the SAVE program might have exceeded the authority of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and that Missouri would likely be harmed by the program.

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, who spearheaded one of the legal challenges, issued a statement celebrating the ruling as a victory.

“As the court correctly held, whether to forgive billions of dollars of student debt is a major question that only Congress can answer,” he said.

“This is not only unconstitutional, it’s unfair. Blue collar Kansas workers who didn’t go to college shouldn’t have to pay off the student loans of New Yorkers with gender studies degrees,” Attorney General added.

The Kansas lawsuit received backing from 11 other Republican states. Among these 12 states, only Alaska, Texas, and South Carolina were determined to have standing in the case.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey also hailed the ruling, calling it a “huge win for the rule of law and Americans who would have been forced “to pay off someone else’s debt.”

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