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Taxpayers group asks Supreme Court to block Biden’s student debt relief program

WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin organization promoting taxpayers’ rights asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to halt implementation of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, just two days after the administration began accepting online applications for debt relief from borrowers.

The Brown County Taxpayers Association filed the request for emergency relief arguing that Biden’s program would cost U.S. taxpayers more than $1 trillion and that it circumvents Congress, which controls federal spending.

“The blow to the United States Treasury and taxpayers will be staggering — perhaps costing more than one trillion dollars. If this program goes forward as planned on Sunday, then the President will unilaterally spend roughly 4% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product,” the emergency application said.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in September that Biden’s plan would cost about $400 billion, while the Department of Education said the price tag would be closer to $379 billion.

“There is no legal justification for this presidential usurpation of the constitutional spending power, which is reserved exclusively for Congress,” the taxpayers association added.

The emergency application was addressed to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the 7th Circuit where the group is based. Barrett could decide on the case alone or refer it to the full court for consideration.

The legal filing echoes arguments made in other challenges to the administration’s program. In September, lawyers representing a half-dozen Republican-led states sued the Biden administration in federal court, seeking to block implementation. Earlier, a lawsuit also seeking to halt the program was filed in Indiana by a lawyer who works for a conservative-learning law firm.

Biden announced Monday that the application to get the debt relief was online. In August, he announced that he would cancel up to $10,000 for many borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in the 2020 or 2021 tax years. Pell Grant recipients are eligible for up to $20,000 in relief.

The application period extends through Dec. 31, 2023. Borrowers who would like their balances adjusted before loan payments restart in January of next year are being asked by the White House to submit their applications before Nov. 15.

Asked Monday whether he was worried litigation could interfere with his plan, Biden said, “Our legal judgment is that it won’t, but they are trying to stop it.”

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