The Biden administration argued in the court filing that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has the legal authority to give student loan debt relief under the HEROES Act. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The Biden administration Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to lift a lower-court injunction stopping student loan debt forgiveness.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit on Monday temporarily blocked the student debt relief, granting an emergency motion for an injunction filed by six Republican-led states.
The debt relief plan would grant as much as $10,000 in loan forgiveness for people making less than $125,000 annually and up to $20,000 for Pell grant recipients.
"The Eighth Circuit's erroneous injunction leaves millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo, uncertain about the size of their debt and unable to make financial decisions with an accurate understanding of their future repayment obligations," Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in a Supreme Court filing.
The filing asks the Supreme Court to allow the debt relief while a final legal decision is rendered on it.
Prelogar said the injunction could keep borrowers uncertain about their debts until sometime in 2024.
The Biden administration argued in the court filing that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has the legal authority to give student loan debt relief under the HEROES Act.
That law provides that "notwithstanding any other provision of law" the secretary may respond to a "national emergency" by waiving or modifying "any statutory or regulatory provision" governing federal student loans "as the secretary deems necessary."
The HEROES Act, the Biden administration argued in the legal brief, also provides that the Secretary "ensure" that "affected individuals" are not "placed in a worse position financially" because of the emergency.
The solicitor general also wrote in the filing that the six states "lack standing to challenge the plan," meaning they are not directly harmed by it.
The Biden administration said that even if the appeals court rules against the debt relief, the government is likely to prevail on the merits and succeed in getting it reinstated in the Supreme Court.