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Biden's student-loan forgiveness remains blocked after another federal court rejects the administration's attempt to revive its debt relief

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/1/2022 asheffey@businessinsider.com (Ayelet Sheffey)
President Joe Biden. Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images © Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden. Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • The 5th Circuit ruled on Wednesday that it would not reinstate Biden's student-debt relief.
  • It was in response to Biden's appeal to the court after a Texas judge blocked the relief.
  • Separately, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on an 8th Circuit decision also blocking relief.

President Joe Biden's student-loan forgiveness plan continues to suffer blow after blow.

On Wednesday night, a three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it would not grant the Biden administration's request to pause a district court decision that blocked the implementation of student-loan forgiveness. 

On November 10, US District Judge Mark Pittman — appointed by former President Donald Trump — in the Northern District of Texas Court ruled that Biden's plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers was illegal and blocked the administration from carrying out the relief. Biden's administration appealed the decision to the 5th Circuit and requested they pause Pittman's ruling. The three judges, appointed by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Trump did not rule in its favor.

Biden's Justice Department will likely take this case to the Supreme Court, as it has already done with a separate ruling from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which also blocked implementation of the loan forgiveness in response to a lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states who argued the debt relief would hurt their states' tax revenues.

The Supreme Court has not yet issued a decision on whether it will grant the Biden administration's request to revive debt relief for millions of borrowers.

In response to the lawsuits, Biden announced right before Thanksgiving that he would be extending the student-loan payment pause through June 30, 2023, or 60 days after lawsuits are resolved, whichever comes first. The pause was previously set to expire after December 31, and many lawmakers and advocates were urging the administration to prevent throwing borrowers back into repayment without the relief they applied for.

"Callous efforts to block student debt relief in the courts have caused tremendous financial uncertainty for millions of borrowers who cannot set family budgets or even plan for the holidays without a clear picture of their student debt obligations," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote on Twitter following the extension announcement.

".@POTUS & I believe it's harmful & wrong to ask tens of millions of borrowers to resume payments on their student debt when they would be eligible for relief – if not for these meritless lawsuits," he added.

Now, the fate of student-debt relief appears to rest at the Supreme Court. It's unclear when the Court will issue its decision, but in the meantime, 44 advocates, legal experts, and scholars filed a series of amicus curiae briefs supporting the Biden administration's request to revive the debt relief, along with former Rep. George Miller — the architect of the HEROES Act of 2003, which the Education Secretary is using to carry out the relief. 

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