The Biden administration is moving “full speed ahead” in preparing for the implementation of its plans for widespread student debt forgiveness, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Saturday, a day after a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the loans from being immediately canceled.
Cardona called lawsuits seeking to block President Biden’s debt relief program “baseless,” saying in a video posted on Twitter that the administration was “not deterred.”
Biden’s plan faced its first substantive hurdle Friday evening, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit granted an administrative stay for one of the lawsuits, brought by six Republican-led states. The administrative stay is not a decision on the merits of the case, but rather a temporary pause until the court decides on it.
Until Friday, it had appeared that the Biden administration was dodging the legal challenges aimed by Republicans at its debt relief plan. A U.S. district judge had on Thursday dismissed the states’ lawsuit for lack of standing, the same day Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a separate lawsuit by a conservative legal institute on behalf of a taxpayers’ association, which argued that the debt relief was unconstitutional.
The six Republican-led states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina — have argued that the debt relief would lead to a drop in revenue stemming from the loans that were set to be forgiven. Judge Henry E. Autrey of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri wrote in his order that concerns over lost tax revenue were “merely speculative.”