September 29, 2023
As the federal government teeters on the edge of a shutdown, the U.S. Department of Education said Friday it is still moving forward with a regulatory effort to cancel broad amounts of student loan debt.
The new venture follows the Biden administration suffering a major legal defeat this summer. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down its initial loan forgiveness plan, which would have immediately wiped out up to $20,000 in student debt for individual borrowers earning less than $125,000. The Education Department estimates the program would have benefited 43 million borrowers.
Now, the White House is pursuing loan forgiveness through what will likely be a much lengthier process known as negotiated rulemaking, which brings together parties affected by regulatory changes to find common policy ground.
However, the individuals involved in negotiated rulemaking — whom the Education Department revealed Friday — will likely need to meet several times to hash out these details. And the policy they agree on will still need to go through a separate regulatory process that could take months, calling into question whether President Joe Biden will even be in office by the time the work concludes.
Other barriers to loan relief include whether the administration will be sued over it again. Pundits predict if a hypothetical lawsuit reached the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, it would again rule against a loan forgiveness plan.