Washington, Oct 21 (EFE).- A United States federal appeals court Friday temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’ order to cancel student loan debt, which was scheduled to be rolled out next week.
An order issued by the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals paused the program until at least Monday, while it considers an appeal by six Republican-led states on a court order the previous day dismissing a lawsuit brought by them challenging the plan.
The government has been asked to respond by Monday and the plaintiffs to present their counter-argument the following day.
On Thursday, Judge Henry Autrey from the Eastern District of Missouri dismissed the lawsuit by Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina for lack of standing, which required the six states to show that they were affected or harmed by the cancellation of the debt.
The states sued the Biden administration in September and asked that the student-loan forgiveness be blocked claiming that Biden lacked the authority to grant student loan forgiveness unilaterally.
At the end of August, Biden announced that he will cancel part of the government-held loans of millions of university students in an attempt to woo young voters just over two months before the midterm elections.
The announcement came after months of internal debate within the government and after student loan repayments were suspended in 2020 as a pandemic-relief measure.
“Today, the Biden Administration is following through on that (campaign) promise and providing families breathing room as they prepare to start re-paying loans after the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic,” the White House said in a statement on Aug. 24 while announcing the measure.
The president announced the cancellation of up to $10,000 of federal student loan debt but this measure will only benefit those who earn less than $125,000 a year or married couples with an annual income of less than $250,000.
Biden also announced debt forgiveness of up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, which include a large number of Hispanic and African-American students from low-income families. EFE