A federal appeals court on Friday placed a temporary hold on President Biden's student debt forgiveness program while it considers an ongoing challenge to the initiative, throwing a wrench into one of the president's major agenda items.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted the Biden administration's move in response to an appeal from a coalition of six GOP-led states to temporarily block the implementation of the program. The GOP coalition, made up of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Iowa had appealed to the circuit court after their initial lawsuit against the Biden administration was dismissed, with CNN reporting the court did not feel the lawsuit met the threshold to continue.
Prior to the temporary hold, the student debt forgiveness program was slated to begin as early as Sunday, with eligible borrowers able to relieve up to $20,000 in debt, the U.S. Department of Education said.
In response to the block, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre encouraged those who were eligible to apply for the relief, adding that the block does not prevent the Biden administration from reviewing relief applications. She also noted that the court's decision only placed a temporary pause on the program until the case had been argued.
President Biden lambasted Republicans who he claimed were trying to oppose student debt relief while at the same time applying for pandemic relief loans of their own. "Who the hell do they think they are?" Biden said during a speech in Delaware.