Asharply divided Supreme Court on Friday effectively killed President Joe Biden‘s $400 billion plan to cancel or reduce federal student loan debts for millions of Americans. “This fight is not over,” he said.
The 6-3 decision, with conservative justices in the majority, said the Biden administration overstepped its authority with the plan, and it leaves borrowers on the hook for repayments that are expected to resume in the fall.
Associated Press (AP) reports that the court held that the administration needed Congress’ endorsement before undertaking so costly a program. The majority rejected arguments that a bipartisan 2003 law dealing with national emergencies, known as the HEROES Act, gave Biden the power he claimed.
Biden, who once doubted his own authority to offer student loan forgiveness, said later Friday he would push ahead with a new debt relief plan while blaming Republican “hypocrisy” for the decision that wiped out his original effort.
The president said he would work under the authority of the Higher Education Act to begin a new program designed to ease borrowers’ threat of default if they fall behind over the next year.
The Supreme Court ruling was blunt in rejecting Biden’s first plan.