A group of 94 Republican lawmakers called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to hold former Vice President Joe Biden accountable for his unconstitutional and illegal student-loan forgiveness plan during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate. In a letter addressed to Pelosi and released early Friday, the lawmakers said the debate provided ample opportunity to explain why Biden’s proposal would be unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and defies common sense. In contrast, they wrote that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., offered a comprehensive plan to address the issue in her first response to the question, while former Rep.
An unconstitutional law
Congressional Republicans said that former Vice President Joe Biden’s plans to unilaterally forgive millions of people’s student loans are unconstitutional and, in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 94 Republican lawmakers urged her to condemn the plans.
We firmly believe it is unconstitutional for the administration to offer such relief without consulting Congress, Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Rodney Davis (R, Ill.), Daniel Webster (R, Fla.), Dan Newhouse (R, Wash.) Greg Pence (R., Ind.) Doug LaMalfa (R, Calif) Barbara Comstock (Rep. VA) wrote in the letter.
The Constitution doesn’t mention forgiveness of student loans
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…. The word shall is defined as must; required by duty or law to do. It doesn’t mention forgiveness of student loans. Furthermore, based on the wording in this section of the Constitution Congress cannot legislate anything that has to do with education including programs like debt relief.
Nothing in the Constitution gives the president the power to forgive loan debt.
Biden’s proposed postponement of some loan repayments while students are in school was the cornerstone of Obama’s plan to reduce the national burden of student debt. When in 2007, Obama first introduced the idea, he argued that over time it means we’ll be building a stronger economy that leaves nobody behind. But there is no explicit legal basis for Biden’s proposal – on which he has been going around Congress since July – in US law.
A constitutional crisis?
The letter is dated on July 22, just a day after Joe Biden made the announcement to cancel debts from $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans. And it could be a sign that the 2020 election season is off to an acrimonious start. The dispute over whether the president can grant unlimited debt relief to those who took out loans raises questions about the limits of executive power, and comes as Congress debates ways to ease America’s $22 trillion debt load.
I urge you to use your authorities…to immediately reverse these executive actions, wrote top House Republicans.
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No offense, I’m not one of these people who say apologize, she said. I don’t apologize because I think we live in a pluralistic society. When someone says something that is false or problematic, we need to point it out.
Where things stand now
In response to a proposal released last week by Joe Biden, a group of 94 Republican lawmakers have taken to the letter writing. The plan proposed by the former vice president – which would erase undergraduate loans of up to $10,000 or $50,000 per person – may run afoul of the US Constitution according to their assessment. And their call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pretty direct: To make him account for this unconstitutional and illegal proposal.
Meanwhile, the letter takes shots at what it says are the diminishing prospects facing most Americans under current policies coming from Washington, D.C.