LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Attorney General said Friday that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against President Biden’s plan to wipe out hundreds of millions of dollars in student loans kept the nation’s balance of power in check.
Calling the decision “a great day for our country,” Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers applauded the court’s decision, saying it stopped a Biden administration “power grab,” protected the separation of powers, and kept the “power of the purse” in the hands of Congress.
“Today is a great day for our country,” Hilgers said. “Today, the Supreme Court stopped a very significant attempted, really breathtaking power grab from the Biden administration and its attempt to cancel without Congressional authorization, almost $500 billion of student loans.”
Conservative justices in the majority of the 6-3 decision on Biden v. Nebraska, saying the Biden administration overstepped its authority with the plan to cancel or reduce $400 million in student loans; and left borrowers on the hook for repayments that are expected to resume in the fall.
Hilgers said it was the right call: “Why is it fair, for instance, for someone who might work at Kawasaki, who might not have a college degree by choice or otherwise, why should they pay especially in a high inflationary environment for some lawyer’s degree or elsewhere around the country?”
President Biden is working on an alternative student debt plan to ease looming defaults after the Supreme Court struck down his initiative on Friday.
Nebraska was one of six states involved in the case. Both the state attorney and solicitor general argued before the nation’s high court.
Nebraska Solicitor General James Campbell was in front of the court in February, saying the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, a state-created company that services student loans, would lose about 40% of its revenues if the Biden plan went into effect. Independent research has cast doubt on the financial harm MOHELA would face, however, suggesting that the agency would still see an increase in revenue even if Biden’s cancellation went through. That information was not part of the court record.
Then in March, Hilgers went to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue against student loan forgiveness.
Hilgers said Friday that while President Biden was trying to spend almost a half-trillion dollars of taxpayer dollars in a way he knew he couldn’t.
The matter now returns to Congress, but Hilgers noted that dozens of efforts in Congress to have student loans canceled have all failed. He criticized Biden for not convincing more members of Congress to go compromise on the issue and said that unless more people who support the issue are elected into Congress, canceling it unilaterally wouldn’t be an option.
But the state AG balked at the notion that the matter was political.
“This wasn’t a Republican issue at all. It wasn’t a Conservative issue at all. In fact, President Biden himself said in a CNN Town Hall in February 2021 ... he didn’t think he had the power to do this,” Hilgers said.
While Biden did say at that time that he didn’t support other members of his party who wanted to cancel $50,000 per borrower, he did support canceling $10,000 — and believed Congress should make the changes through legislation.
Watch Friday’s news conference
Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers spoke to press Friday following the Supreme Court decision against Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.