The conservative Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to stop President Joe Biden's student loan cancellation program. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A nonprofit legal group that aims to fight "government overreach" sued the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday, seeking to block the Biden administration's move to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt per borrower.
In the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in southern Indiana, the Pacific Legal Foundation claims President Joe Biden does not have unilateral authority to cancel debt and his decision to cancel some of the debt was illegal because Congress did not approve it.
"Nothing about loan cancellation is lawful or appropriate," the Sacramento-based foundation said in the complaint. "In an end-run around Congress, the administration threatens to enact a profound and transformational policy that will have untold economic impacts. The administration's lawless action should be stopped immediately."
In a statement to The Hill, a representative of the Education Department called the lawsuit "baseless" and said "opponents of the debt relief plan are trying anything they can to stop this program that will provide needed relief to working families."
Biden announced the plan last month amid mounting pressure from Democratic politicians and advocates who had been calling on him for months to make good on his campaign promise to provide student debt relief.
The president's executive action, which offers up to $20,000 of debt relief for each borrower, also caps monthly payments for undergraduate student loans at 5% of a borrower's discretionary income while continuing the pause on federal student loan repayments through the end of December.
A report Monday by the Congressional Budget Office said the plan could cost the United States some $400 billion over the next 30 years.
The CBO also said the cost for the pause to student loan repayments amid the COVID-19 pandemic will have a price tag of about $20 billion on top of the cost for the debt forgiveness plan.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson (C) stands with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris following her formal investiture ceremony at the Supreme Court on Friday. Photo by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States/UPI | License Photo