A Democrat Representative has said there is still a possibility for student debt cancellation even after the U.S. Supreme Court struck the ruling to waive student loan debt last year.
Here are the details of the news.
Absolutely still a chance for student-debt cancellation: AOC
United States Democrat New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has indicated that there is still a chance for student debt cancellation as promised by U.S. President Joe Biden‘s government despite the Supreme Court’s ruling to cancel student-loan debt.
As student loan payments are starting October 1, 2023, AOC took to her social media on Monday to clarify people’s queries regarding the loan repayments when she asserted there is a chance for cancellation.
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AOC said on Instagram, “There is absolutely still a chance of cancellation. When the Supreme Court struck it down, they said that the administration couldn’t use a specific avenue, namely the HEROES Act, but there are alternative avenues that we have pursued. They are going to be laying out that program over the course of the next year.”
She added, “Cancellation is not a done deal whatsoever.”
In August 2022, the Biden government announced plans to waive up to $10,000 in student debt per borrower and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients using the HEROES Act of 2003.
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The act states that the education secretary can modify any statutory or regulatory provision to protect borrowers during national emergencies.
The Biden government used the act to forgive student loans, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic crisis.
The act was also previously used by former President Donald Trump‘s administration to cancel student loan repayments.
However, the Supreme Court ceased Biden’s loan forgiveness program, noting that the administration cannot use the law for broad relief.
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Later, the Education Department announced it would provide student loan relief using another plan, the Higher Education Act of 1965.
The law does not include a national emergency as one of the conditions to be implied but involves strict regulatory processes such as having a negotiated rulemaking during which the department holds negotiations and public hearings.
The process involves an advisory committee to vote on suggested actions that the education department can use to make laws.
AOC said, “Progressives in Congress were prepared for the possibility that the Supreme Court might overturn the Biden loan program, and what we did was that we prepared and made an argument to the Biden administration that we could continue with student loan cancellation using a different legal authority.”
“Instead of that HEROES Act authority that I mentioned earlier, we had always argued that the Higher Education Act is the proper legal vehicle to continue and pursue student loan forgiveness for millions of Americans. The program would still cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt, but it would take up to a year for the program to roll out,” added AOC.
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While providing details of the cancellation of loan repayment, the New York representative criticized Republicans for starting student loan payments.
Biden signed the debt ceiling bill that included a provision to end the student loan payment.
Referring to the time when the Interest began piling up on a federal account on September 1 and when bills were due by October 1, AOC said, “That was when Republicans forced the restarting of student loan payments on October 1, and they forced that to happen by law in a couple of weeks. You can thank a Republican for student loan payments restarting.”
Although AOC has assured student loan payment cancellation through the negotiated rulemaking process, the plan could take around a year to execute.
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During a press briefing in July, Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said, “You have to intake the comments that you get from the public, and then you have to decide whether to change your proposal accordingly before you do the next public hearing.”
He added, “But we aim to do it as quickly as possible. And so, we will give you more updates as we hit each milestone in that process.”
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