Election results —
You’ll be hearing the word “narrow” a lot in upcoming descriptions of Congressional races. While not all House races have been settled, the Republicans have a secured a narrow majority. The Senate either will be split 50-50 (giving Democrats the majority with Vice President Harris’ vote) or 51-49 for the Democrats, depending on what happens in Georgia.
Student debt cancellation hits judicial speed bumps —
Two different courts have thwarted the Biden administration’s efforts to cancel student debt.
A U.S. District Court judge in Texas called it unlawful and vacated the debt relief program. Judge Mark T. Pittman, of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas, characterized the program as a “complete usurpation” of congressional authority by the executive branch. He rejected the administration’s argument that the HEROES Act grants the president the authority to act in a time of national emergency and that the COVID-19 pandemic remained was just such an emergency.
The federal government appealed the decision, which will go to a panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis issued a nationwide injunction. The injunction, part of a lawsuit brought by six attorneys general, including the SC attorney general, will remain in effect until a decision by the court or the U.S. Supreme Court.
In response to the court actions, the Biden administration has stopped accepting applications for student debt relief – about 30 million had already been submitted – and it is considering extending the pause in student loan payments, which is set to expire on January 1.