In one of his gaffes last week, President Biden let slip how his actions to reach out to younger voters had paid dividends for his party at the polls.
"I especially want to thank the young people of this nation," Biden said, according to Politico, adding that they "voted in historic numbers." Those young voters, he said, "voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms, and the student debt relief."
At issue here is his mention of student debt relief. By executive action, he had ordered the Department of Education to provide loan relief of up to $10,000 per debtor. Over 26 million students have applied for loan forgiveness in what would be a massive $400 billion bribe to a particular voting demographic that would help elect more Democrats.
Did Biden administration officials knowingly announce and popularize a program they knew would fail legal scrutiny in the courts? A legal scrutiny that would come after they had curried votes in an otherwise challenging election environment?
Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled that Biden's student debt relief program is "an unconstitutional exercise of Congress's legislative power and must be vacated." He permanently prohibited the Education Department from carrying out the program. Any appeal by the Department would take the case to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, where the Department is likely to face defeat.
In a separate case three days later, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis issued a nationwide injunction temporarily barring the said debt relief program. CNBC reported that the ruling came after six states argued in a lawsuit that the program threatens their future tax revenues and circumvents congressional authority.
How could the administration market an E.O. that was legally so shaky? Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders constantly discussed student loan relief during their 2020 campaigns, but they never brought up a bill in Congress that passed both chambers. Student loan relief was part of the $6 trillion B.B.B. monster, which died in the Senate last December.
Indeed, Judge Pittman harshly rebuked the administration for this misstep. "No one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States."
Still, Biden officials actively promoted the forgiveness program, baiting 26 million students to vote for the party that was providing relief of up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.
"We are confident in our legal authority for the student debt relief program and believe it is necessary to help borrowers most in need as they recover from the pandemic," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this week, dishonestly.
Using the pandemic as an excuse to provide relief was contrary to the administration's own stated position. In April, the administration announced that Title 42, a C.D.C. provision to turn away migrants at the border, was no longer required because the pandemic was under control. If the pandemic is no longer an issue for migrants, how could it become a factor for students?
The Press Secretary should also have known that when the C.D.C. used the pandemic as an excuse to rule against landlords last year, it was harshly criticized by the United States Supreme Court. In a 6-3 ruling last summer, the Court ruled that the C.D.C. had exceeded its authority in enforcing an eviction moratorium based on the Public Health Services Act of 1944. "It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the C.D.C. the sweeping authority that it asserts."
The new GOP House should investigate the executive order's inherent dishonesty of bait and switch. With little chance of the loan relief now passing both chambers and becoming law, the House should subpoena senior administration members and have them testify under oath.
Pandering to a particular cohort is nothing new for politicians. But the Biden administration has crossed the line by announcing a dubious E.O. that promised a massive transfer of federal dollars from the Treasury to students, essentially to get them to vote for the president's party in a quid-pro-quo deal. Dubious because the administration knew that the program was extraordinarily shaky but decided to press on with it anyway. After all, once the votes are in, the Dems could always blame the courts.
Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Pittman as a "MAGA judge" who is "siding with the special interests over what's best for the people." He added: "This is why we need a Senate Democratic Majority."
If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s decision, young Americans would realize the President tricked them and lured them to the polling stations. Regrettably, Biden, a senior politician, has inadvertently created an indelible apathy toward politics in our youngsters’ minds.
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