“With the flick of a pen,” President Joe Biden has just told millions of hardworking Americans that the federal government will be confiscating their money and transferring it to a large group of overwhelmingly well off and overwhelmingly white 20-somethings who bit off more than they could chew.

More like the flick of a middle finger, Chuck. But whatever. You do you.

While Democrats — well, with one exception, at least — are high-fiving and popping the Champagne, the rest of us are sitting her trying to figure out how the hell the president can legally justify what he’s doing. And apparently we’d be expected to be satisfied with this answer:

Oh, it be true:

More from the Department of Education’s Office of the General Counsel:

The HEROES Act, first enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks, provides the Secretary broad authority to grant relief from student loan requirements during specific periods (a war, other military operation, or national emergency, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic) and for specific purposes (including to address the financial harms of such a war, other military operation, or emergency). The Secretary of Education has used this authority, under both this and every prior administration since the Act’s passage, to provide relief to borrowers in connection with a war, other military operation, or national emergency, including the ongoing moratorium on student loan payments and interest.

Specifically, the HEROES Act authorizes the Secretary to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programs” if the Secretary “deems” such waivers or modifications “necessary to ensure” at least one of several enumerated purposes, including that borrowers are “not placed in a worse position financially” because of a national emergency. 20 U.S.C. § 1098bb(a)(1), (2)(A).

In present circumstances, this authority could be used to effectuate a program of categorical debt cancellation directed at addressing the financial harms caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary could waive or modify statutory and regulatory provisions to effectuate a certain amount of cancellation for borrowers who have been financially harmed because of the COVID19 pandemic. The Secretary’s determinations regarding the amount of relief, and the categories of borrowers for whom relief is necessary, should be informed by evidence regarding the financial harms that borrowers have experienced, or will likely experience, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Secretary’s authority can be exercised categorically to address the situation at hand; it does not need to be exercised “on a case-by-case basis.” Id. § 1098bb(b)(3). That is, he is not required to determine or show that any individual borrower is entitled to a specific amount of relief, and he instead may provide relief on a categorical basis as necessary to address the financial harms of the pandemic.

Oh, well, in that case … wait a minute. That’s actually insane and sounds like a hot, steaming, ginormous pile of you-know-what. Maybe because that’s exactly what it is.

Are we in a national emergency or not, Mr. President?


It’s not just pathetic and unserious; it’s downright unlawful. One might even say … impeachable:

Biden’s action was already impeachable on its face. But in light of this memo, it’s extra-impeachable.

No. They’d immediately start clamoring for impeachment. And you know what? They’d be right to do so.

It definitely won’t be the last.


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