A GOP attorney general says people are ‘celebrating prematurely’ Biden’s student-loan forgiveness, suggesting lawsuits are to come

  • Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told CNBC student-loan forgiveness is being lauded “prematurely.”
  • He said he is looking for ways to legally challenge Biden’s debt relief.
  • Other GOP lawmakers like Ted Cruz have also said they are pursuing ways to block the policy.

Another Republican politician voiced intentions to legally challenge President Joe Biden’s student-loan forgiveness.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told CNBC on Tuesday it might be too soon to bank on Biden’s announcement to forgive $10,000 to $20,000 in student-loan debt for federal borrowers making under $125,000 a year. He said Biden is on “very, very shaky legal grounds right now.”

“I think there’s a lot of people celebrating prematurely,” Brnovich told CNBC. “A lot of other people are very upset about this, not only because of legal arguments, but because they believe it’s fundamentally unfair.”

The Biden administration said the authority to wipe out that debt is granted under the HEROES Act of 2003, which gives the Education Secretary the ability to waive or modify student-loan balances in connection with a national emergency, like COVID-19.

But critics of the plan have argued that is an overreach of the authority, and the legal grounds do not exist for the president to cancel that amount of student debt.

Brnovich added that a lawsuit should be filed “sooner rather than later” so borrowers do not become to reliant on relief, and he said he’s confident he can find a plaintiff that could challenge Biden’s actions.

“If we can bring a challenge, we will bring a challenge,” Brnovich said.

While there was legal debate prior to Biden’s announcement of loan forgiveness, the conversation has only amplified since then. Biden’s Education and Justice Departments both released memos concluding the Education Secretary does have the authority to enact one-time blanket relief due to pandemic-caused financial hardship, and they also rescinded a memo from former President Donald Trump saying the authority to cancel student debt broadly does not exist.

Still, Republicans and conservative groups have said they are pursuing legal routes to overturn the policy. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, told The Washington Post that he is “brainstorming” ways to block debt relief after acknowledging it could be difficult to find a plaintiff. Abby Shafroth, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, also previously told Insider that it will be difficult to prove someone has suffered a concrete injury as a result of Biden’s debt cancellation. 

For now, it’s unclear how any legal action will progress, and the Education Department is continuing to tell federal borrowers to prepare for an application for relief to become live in early October, and they will have until the end of next year to submit their form.