- The Pacific Legal Foundation announced Tuesday it was filing a suit against student loan relief.
- The conservative legal organization argues that the president is “usurping” Congress’s power to make laws.
- But the plaintiff’s concern over automatic relief and accompanying tax bills might be tenuous.
The first major lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s student debt relief has rolled in from Indiana.
The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative nonprofit legal organization, announced that it had filed suit against Biden’s relief — a development that comes after rumblings from conservative business groups and attorneys general that they would pursue legal action.
Significantly, the Pacific Legal suit has a borrower plaintiff at its core: Frank Garrison, a public interest attorney at the organization who is currently eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL) and has paid off his debts through that program for the last six years . According to the lawsuitGarrison expects to qualify for complete forgiveness through the program in about four years.
Garrison, who received a Pell Grant, is now eligible for $20,000 in relief through Biden’s forgiveness — and, as Indiana intends to tax student loan relief, will “face a state income tax liability of more than $1,000 for 2022.” The suit argues that automatic relief is causing Garrison to incur a tax bill he would not have gotten otherwise, and that the administration is “usurping” Congress’ law-making power.
“Congress did not authorize the executive branch to unilaterally cancel student debt,” Caleb Kruckenberg, an attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, said in a press release. “It’s flagrantly illegal for the executive branch to create a $500 billion program by press release, and without statutory authority or even the basic notice and comment procedure for new regulations.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated