Congresswoman Bush Statement Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing on Biden’s Student Loan Relief Plan
Washington D.C. (Feb. 28, 2023) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released the following statement ahead of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Nebraska v. Biden, President Biden’s student debt relief plan for federal borrowers.
“Today, far-right Republican attorneys general will bring baseless and politically motivated arguments to the Supreme Court in opposition to providing student debt relief promised to 40 million borrowers across our country. Regardless, President Biden’s executive authority to provide student debt relief to borrowers is abundantly clear – just look at the facts:
“Fact: The basis of the Republican AG’s case relies on the claim that this relief plan threatens the profits of loan servicers such as MOHELA and states will be financially injured. Yet, in response to an October letter I sent to MOHELA, they denied involvement in the case and discredited Republicans by stating that they don’t operate to make profits and remain committed to complying with contractual obligations set forth by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Fact: Republicans claim that states, like Missouri, also rely on revenue from loan servicers like MOHELA. Yet, MOHELA hasn’t paid their bills to the state in over a decade and owes over $100 million to the state of Missouri.
“Fact: President Biden’s student debt relief plan would provide 40 million borrowers across our country—including 144,000 of my constituents—with life-changing financial relief. Following the economic devastation of the pandemic, we need transformative policy solutions to foster an equitable economic recovery.
“I know what it’s like to carry crushing student debt and to have to make impossible choices between paying rent or paying an exorbitant student loan bill. And I’ve heard from people across the country who have shared how this relief would change their lives - from being able to afford childcare, to paying their medical bills, to being able to put food on the table.
“The facts are clear, and I implore the Supreme Court to affirm the President’s executive authority to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt. I’m confident the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan will withstand these hurdles and provide the much-needed relief to borrowers.”
While in Congress, Congresswoman Bush has been leading the charge in calling for President Biden to address the student loan debt crisis. In May 2022, she joined the Congressional Black Caucus in calling on President Biden to take action on canceling student debt, and has consistently championed the need to cancel the more than $1.9 trillion in student loan debt. In August, the Biden-Harris Administration formally announced their Student Loan Debt Relief Plan which would cancel up to $20,000 for people who went to college on Pell Grants and up to $10,000 for non-Pell Grant recipients who earn less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples).
In October, six Republican Attorneys General, including Missouri’s then-Attorney General Eric Schmitt, filed a lawsuit challenging student loan debt relief, falsely claiming it would threaten the revenue of loan servicers like Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA). Congresswoman Bush sent a letter to the Executive Director 0f MOHELA, demanding the company halt efforts to block millions of people from accessing economic relief through the Biden Administration’s historic student loan debt relief program. About a month later, MOHELA broke their silence and responded to the Congresswoman stating that their “executives were not involved” in the lawsuit, and further stressed that as a governmental entity, they "do not exist to make profits," and they would fulfill its “obligations pursuant to its federal servicing loan contract” - essentially implying that they would support Biden’s Student Debt Relief Plan.
MOHELA is among the largest student loan companies in the world. MOHELA handles more than one out of every ten dollars of all outstanding student loan debt. In Missouri alone, approximately 833,000 borrowers owe nearly $30 billion in federal student loan debt.