Trump Admin: Illegal to Forgive Student Debt With Executive Action

Trump Admin: Illegal to Forgive Student Debt With Executive Action

President Donald Trump’s administration is claiming that it would be illegal for the executive branch to order the forgiveness of all or some of the student debt held by Americans, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a memo to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos dated Tuesday, attorneys for the Education Department outline their argument against forgiving student debt by executive action, which Democrats have called on President-elect Joe Biden to do upon gaining office.

“We believe the Secretary does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof,” wrote Reed Rubinstein, the principal deputy general counsel for the Department of Education.

Biden has said in the past that he would cancel some student debt, at least $10,000 from every borrower, according to a pandemic relief package he proposed.

“It’s arguable that I may have — the president may have — the executive power to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt,” Mr. Biden told news columnists by phone during a press conference last month. “Well, I think that’s pretty questionable. I’m not sure of that. I’d be unlikely to do that.”

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