Forty-three Senate Republicans argued in their brief on Wednesday that Biden’s executive order is unconstitutional and violates the separation of powers by circumventing Congress.
“President Biden’s student loan schemes do not ‘forgive’ student debt, but transfers it onto Americans who chose not to go to college or worked hard to pay off their loans,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said in a statement. “These policies are a clear overreach of President Biden’s authority and unconstitutional.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in February in two cases led by Republican-controlled states challenging the program, claiming the move in turn leaves taxpayers on the hook for the money incurred.
Biden announced the plan in August, seeking to provide up to $20,000 in debt relief for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year, protecting borrowers most at risk of delinquency or default because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some federal judges in conservative states have said the program is unconstitutional.
In its opening brief to the Supreme Court last month, the Biden administration argued that it has the authority to cancel the debt under the 2003 HEROES Act, which gives it the power to waive laws that usually govern student loans during national emergencies.
The White House has said that 26 million people have either applied for student loan debt relief or already provided enough information to be eligible.
“Millions of those borrowers could be experiencing the benefits of that relief today were it not for lawsuits brought on by elected officials in some of their own states,” the White House said.