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Federal Judges Block Biden’s Student Loan Program Amid Legal Challenges

Payam Javan: Federal judges in Missouri and Kansas have made significant rulings affecting the Biden administration’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) program, which aims to reduce student loan payments and forgive debts. On June 24, U.S. District Judge Michael Crabtree in Kansas blocked key elements of the program, siding with Republican-led states that argued the Department of Education lacked clear authority from Congress to implement certain aspects. While Judge Crabtree declined to halt the entire program, citing practical difficulties, he expressed reservations about its legality without explicit legislative backing.

In a parallel decision the same day, U.S. District Judge John Ross in Missouri also issued an injunction against further loan forgiveness under the SAVE program until the legal challenges are fully resolved. Judge Ross raised concerns about the program potentially exceeding the authority of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and causing financial harm to state loan operators. Both judges, appointed by President Obama, emphasized the need for Congressional authorization for such sweeping changes to student loan policy.

The rulings were met with approval from Republican attorneys general and officials, who viewed them as victories for upholding constitutional separation of powers. Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach celebrated the decision as a validation that only Congress should decide on major policy shifts like student debt forgiveness, echoing concerns that the SAVE program unfairly burdens taxpayers. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey similarly praised the rulings as a defense of legal principles and fiscal responsibility.

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