- The Department of Education held its first public hearing on its new student debt relief plan on Tuesday.
- It comes after the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s first route to debt relief in June.
- Biden is trying to use the Higher Education Act of 1965, which will take longer than the first plan.
The administration of President Joe Biden has started the process to try once again to obtain student loan forgiveness for millions of borrowers.
On Tuesday, the Department of Education began its first public hearing on the proposal of the administration of cancel student debt using the Higher Education Act of 1965, which allows the department to “enforce, pay, pledge, waive, or release any right, title, claim, lien, or demand” relating to federal student debt. This comes after the Supreme Court on June 30. quashed Biden’s plan to cancel student debt using the HEROES Act of 2003, ruling that that act was an overreach of authority and could not be used to relieve borrowers’ debts related to the pandemic.
Unlike the HEROES Act, the Higher Education Act requires the department go through the negotiated standard-making processin which the administration has to solicit public comment and hold hearings to receive feedback from stakeholders that will shape Biden’s final proposal.
At the start of the public hearing, Under Secretary for Education James Kvaal said the “goal of the administration is to provide debt relief to borrowers, particularly middle-class and working-class borrowers who need it most, and to recognize that too many student loan borrowers are left with unaffordable, unreasonable, and unacceptable debt.”
“We want to help borrowers who have been shortchanged by the fundamental bargain of federal student loans: that investments in you and your education will help you have a better life,” Kvaal said. “For those who have seen their debts spiral out of control, even as they make the payments we ask. We will help as many borrowers as possible and work as quickly as possible under the law.”
After the public hearing, the department will announce the dates of the bargaining sessions and plans to hold three sessions at “approximately 4-week intervals.” according to the federal register. as inside information previously reportedThis process it will take longer due to negotiated regulatory requirements, and many Democratic lawmakers have urged the administration to act as quickly as possible, especially with payments set to resume again in October.
Still, Republican lawmakers have opposed Biden’s new relief plan, along with the administration’s announcement to implement a new income-based payment plan to significantly lower monthly payments.
“Taxpayers just got punched, again, by this administration,” top Republican on the House education committee, Virginia Foxx. saying after Biden announced the new relief plan.
“In addition, Biden confirmed plans to ignore the law and extend the pay pause while ignoring the Supreme Court and still trying to do blanket loan forgiveness,” he said. “What the president is promoting is illegal, inflationary and irresponsible.”
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