Washington — President Biden is addressing the nation Friday afternoon after the Supreme Courthis student loan relief program in a 6-3 decision that upended a key campaign promise.
The president said in a statement reacting to the ruling that he will lay out “more detail on all that my Administration has done to help students and the next steps my Administration will take” in the wake of the court’s decision, which invalidated his administration’s plan to provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to federal student loan borrowers.
His address is the second time in as many days that he is reacting to a defeat handed down by the high court. On Thursday,that the race-conscious affirmative action admission policies of Harvard College and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional.
But this time, the court ruled against a policy that Mr. Biden himself promised and unilaterally executed. Last August, the president and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced the Biden administration would forgive $10,000 in student loans for those earning less than $125,000 annually, and another $10,000 in student loans for those who attended college on Pell Grants. The promise of relief was immediately challenged in court, eventually working its way up to the Supreme Court, where it was struck down Friday.
“This fight is not over,” the president said in a statement. “My administration’s student debt relief plan would have been the lifeline tens of millions of hardworking Americans needed as they try to recover from a once-in-a-century pandemic. Nearly 90 percent of the relief from our plan would have gone to borrowers making less than $75,000 a year, and none of it would have gone to people making more than $125,000. It would have been life-changing for millions of Americans and their families. And it would have been good for economic growth, both in the short- and long-term.”
A source inside the White House said that the administration was prepared for this outcome. The president learned of the decision from senior aides, and has been meeting with his team since the ruling came down.
The court’s decision, which fell along ideological lines, presents not just a setback for student loan holders, but also for Mr. Biden, as he ramps up his reelection campaign. In 2020, he campaigned on canceling student loan debt, which he was ultimately unable to deliver.
Issued on the last day of the term, the decision also comes two months before the requirement to make timely student loan payments — paused during both the Trump and Biden administrations due to the pandemic —for the first time in more than three years, on Sept. 1.
Democrats are lamenting the Supreme Court’s decision, while Republicans are hailing it. Opponents of the Biden administration’s plan argued the program was unfair to those who paid off their debts or chose not to attend college for a variety of reasons.
“Biden’s student loan bailout unfairly punished Americans who already paid off their loans, saved for college, or made a different career choice,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “Americans saw right through this desperate vote grab, and we are thankful that the Supreme Court did as well. We applaud the highest court’s decision to overturn this unconstitutional bailout for the wealthy.”
Sara Cook and Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.
How to watch Biden address the Supreme Court’s student loan ruling
- What: President Biden speaks after the Supreme Court strikes down his student loan relief program
- Date: June 30, 2023
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- Location: The White House, Washington, D.C.
- Online stream: Live on CBS News in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device.