Without Congressional approval, is the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program legal?
March 17, 2023
(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced a transparency lawsuit against the Department of Education (ED) for withholding records regarding student loan forgiveness and the extension of the moratorium on loan repayments through the end of December 2022.
In August 2022, FGI filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records regarding whether the ED took political considerations into account on the plan and timing of the student loan forgiveness program. This loan “forgiveness” by the federal government does not “eliminate” the loan, as many would believe, but would rather shift the burden of payment from borrowers to the federal government, funded by the taxpaying public. With no prior congressional directive or approval, this program has become the subject of much legal debate, with both ethical and moral concerns. In fact, these debates have now gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who seems skeptical at best, regarding the legality of such a program.
While ED initially responded that they had received the FOIA request, they soon began to delay, citing the need to “conduct a vast search across multiple program offices, which we anticipate will result in a large amount of responsive records.” Since then, ED has become unresponsive and continued to withhold documents, thus resulting in FGI’s lawsuit.
Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:
“Checks and balances between the three branches of our federal government exist for a reason. Our system cannot work if any one branch decides to unilaterally enact new policy. The student loan forgiveness program estimated to cost more than $400 billion, and the decision to bypass Congress altogether raises both constitutional and ethical questions. While the courts are reviewing the legal concerns, FGI is focused on introducing transparency to what many believe was a politically driven decision months before the midterms and a handout to the administration’s most ardent special interest allies. We must also ask ourselves, is it truly fair to shift the burden of payment of these student loans onto the general taxpaying public, especially if those taxpayers already have other debts that were not ‘forgiven’ in kind?”