President Joe Biden’s administration is working to assure student loan borrowers that the debt forgiveness plan is still moving along despite an appeals court temporarily blocking it from taking effect after six Republican states’ joint lawsuit.
Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona penned a USA Today op-ed on Saturday vowing that the program would continue and urging eligible borrowers to keep applying for forgiveness on the department’s website.
“Amid some Republicans trying every which way to block the Biden Administration’s debt relief program, the department is moving full speed ahead with preparations for the lawful implementation of our program so we can deliver relief to borrowers who need it most,” he wrote.
Cardona’s message mirrors White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s announcement after the court’s temporary block on Friday that the administration would continue to review the applications and prepare them for “transmission to loan servicers.”
22 million people have already applied for forgiveness, according to Cardona.
The Biden official also called out Republicans for trying to obstruct efforts to erase student debt despite embracing government forgiveness for their own Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
“It’s only when relief is going to working and middle-class Americans that these elected officials have a problem,” Cardona asserted.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ordered a temporary stay on the program on Friday in response to Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina’s lawsuit against the plan.
The states complain in the suit that student loan forgiveness is “unfair” and that Biden overstepped his authority in launching the plan.