Taxpayer advocate says president alone should not have power to cancel student loan debt

Aug 25, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2022, 12:54 pm
On Wednesday, President Biden announced forgiveness of some student loan debt.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci,...
On Wednesday, President Biden announced forgiveness of some student loan debt. AP Photo/Evan Vucci,

SALT LAKE CITY — President Joe Biden issued an executive order to forgive student loan debt, but does he really have the power to do that? An advocate for taxpayers doesn’t think so.

But instead of the president using an executive order to forgive $300 billion in debts, shouldn’t that be the job of Congress to debate, comprise and pass legislation on such a massive problem in the nation?

Forgiving $10,000 in student debt could cost the U.S. $300 billion

Dan Savickas, of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, talks with Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson about Congress abdicating its responsibly to the president and the results it brings.  

Boyd pointed out that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a year ago that the president doesn’t have the power to cancel student loan debt.

“People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.

Nancy Pelosi, July 28, 2021

Pandemic didn’t cause loan debt, says show guest

Savickas noted there is a bill floating around Congress — the Federal Student Loan Integrity Act — that would do exactly what Pelosi said in the quote above. It would prevent the Secretary of Education from extending the moratorium on student-loan repayment because of the pandemic.

Savickas explains more about the bill: Federal Student Loan Integrity Act

“You can go back years before the pandemic, and people in Congress were talking about student loan-debt forgiveness. This is not a creature of the pandemic,” he said.

Boyd said the executive order issued by President Biden on loan forgiveness is the politics of convenience.

“Now the president’s saying ‘Well, unless somebody files a lawsuit. I’m going to do this from the executive branch, and I am going to bypass Congress once again,'” Boyd said.

The Biden Administration is justifying this executive order on student loan forgiveness based on the HEROES Act of 2003.

Legality of Joe Biden’s Student Loan Plan Relies on Coronavirus Pandemic, 2003 HEROES Law

“The Department of Education went and said, ‘Well, COVID is a national emergency. And one could say that these students who have student loan debt are victims of that national emergency. So, we’re going to use the HEROES Act of 2003 authority to forgive student-loan debt,” Savickas said.

Pass power to the president

Boyd asked if other bills such as Sen. Mitt Romney’s Student Loan Accountability Act stood a chance of passage in Congress.

“It’s going to be very tough, especially now that the genie has been let out of the bottle,” Savickas said. “Congress is actually good at delegating its constitutional authority to the president because they like to take credit for the effects, but not actually bear any of the responsibility.”

He added ceding authority to the president gives Republicans a wedge issue to campaign against in upcoming elections.

Boyd pointed out someone somewhere will file a lawsuit against the executive order.

“And then we wonder why the Supreme Court has become so political in terms of those nominations. Often, it’s because of that abdication of power from Congress, that taking of power by the executive branch, and then once that happens, someone’s going to file a lawsuit,” Boyd said.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Taxpayer advocate says president alone should not have power to cancel student loan debt