Sep 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge denies motion to pause Biden student debt relief plan

President Biden with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in the White House in August 2022.

President Biden with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in the White House in August. Photo: Bonnie Cash/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday denied an Indiana lawyer's request to pause the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness plan as part of a lawsuit filed against the Department of Education earlier this week.

Why it matters: The Education Department currently faces multiple lawsuits over the forgiveness plan, with seven Republican-led states filing suits on Thursday.

  • The plan would alleviate some of the debt burdens of 43 million Americans but has drawn opposition from Republicans and Democrats in battleground states.

What they're saying: District Judge Richard Young denied plaintiff Frank Garrison's request for the court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the loan cancellation from going into effect because he could not be irreparably harmed by the plan.

  • "[T]he court, in view of the fact the Department of Education exempted Plaintiff from receiving debt relief, finds Plaintiff cannot be irreparably harmed as is required for preliminary relief," the judge wrote in the ruling.

The big picture: The libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation on Tuesday sued the Education Department in a federal court in Indiana, arguing that Garrison, a public interest attorney and an employee of Pacific Legal Foundation, "will face immediate tax liability from the state of Indiana because of the automatic cancellation of a portion of his debt."

  • Indiana is one of at least seven states that plan to tax student loan forgiveness.
  • "Mr. Garrison and millions of others similarly situated in the six relevant states will receive no additional benefit from the cancellation — just a one-time additional penalty," the lawsuit reads.
  • The Department of Justice argued in a legal filing on Wednesday that Garrison could not be harmed by the student debt relief program or potential taxes paid on it because the Education Department will give those eligible for the relief the ability to opt-out.

Go deeper: 7 GOP states sue Biden over student loan forgiveness plan

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