Progressives Prepared for Any Student-Loan Relief Court Decision

  • A Supreme Court decision on student-loan forgiveness could come as soon as Thursday.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she will be prepared for any outcome.
  • The White House has yet to comment on an alternate route for debt relief if Biden’s plan is struck down.

The Supreme Court could hand down a decision on student-loan forgiveness as soon as Thursday — and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she is ready for any outcome.

On Wednesday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a press conference on upholding President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers. Since November, the plan as been paused due to two conservative-backed lawsuits. The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the legality of the relief in the coming days.

While millions of student-loan borrowers are waiting to learn if they will resume payments in October with a reduction to their balances, Ocasio-Cortez said during the press conference that progressive lawmakers will work to ensure borrowers will receive debt cancellation, one way or the other.

“We are prepared in the event of any outcome in this ruling,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We are here to fight, and we are here to make sure, and encourage, and have the president’s back, in making sure that this cancellation goes through for the millions of people in the United States.”

She added that her progressive colleagues will not take the Supreme Court’s decision “lying down,” saying that “we are prepared, we are here to fight, and we stand with you.”

Ocasio-Cortez has been among some other Democratic lawmakers who have urged Biden to prepare a backup plan should the Supreme Court rule against his debt-relief plan. As Insider previously reported, some lawmakers have suggested Biden could use the Higher Education Act to deliver relief to millions of borrowers, which does not rely on the existence of a national emergency. Still, the White House has not yet publicly comment on any alternate routes it would consider in the event of an adverse ruling. 

Additionally, the Education Department confirmed that student-loan payments are resuming in October, with interest beginning to accrue again in September. Given the debt-ceiling bill Biden recently signed into law codified the end of the student-loan payment pause, the department cannot provide additional relief for borrowers — even if the Supreme Court strikes down broad student-loan forgiveness.

Amid the push to ensure relief for borrowers, though, Republican lawmakers have been pursuing different routes to block student-loan forgiveness without waiting for the Supreme Court ruling. The GOP recently passed a bill that would overturn the relief — Biden vetoed it — and Congress will vote on overriding that veto this week. 

For now, all eyes are on the Supreme Court to see how it decides Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan for millions of borrowers is legal. “Is the president prepared to re-administer the loan forgiveness program?” Ocasio-Cortez previously told Politico. “And I think this is the most crucial question.”