Republicans plan lawsuit to stop Biden’s student debt relief

Happy Thursday! President Joe Biden is set to deliver a rare prime-time address to the nation from Philadelphia, where, against the backdrop of Independence Hall, he will deliver a stark — and inevitably political — warning about the threat on American democracy.

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country back. Back to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to ‘marry who you love,’ Biden will say, according to excerpts released by the White House. “For a long time, we have taken comfort in the fact that American democracy is guaranteed. But it is not. We must defend it. Protect it. Defend it. All of us.”

We’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday, after Labor Day. In the meantime, here’s what’s going on.

Republicans plan lawsuit to stop Biden’s student debt relief

Republican officials across the country are discussing legal action to challenge President Joe Biden’s student debt relief package.
The Biden Plan announced last week provides up to $10,000 in student debt relief for people earning less than $125,000 a year ($250,000 for couples) and up to $20,000 for borrowers who have received Pell Grants, which are generally awarded to students from low- to middle-income households.

Lawsuits seeking to invalidate or slow down the relief program have been discussed by Republican attorneys general from several states, including Arizona, Missouri and Texas, Tony Romm, Jeff Stein and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel of the Washington Post.
report. Other conservatives and right-wing groups — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Heritage Foundation and the Job Creators Network — are pondering their own legal actions.

While no lawsuits have yet been filed, the legal challenges are expected to challenge the president’s legal authority to unilaterally dismiss student loan debt. The Biden administration says it has that authority under a 2003 law that gives the executive branch the ability to reorganize student loan programs during a national emergency, which White House officials say s applies during the pandemic.

Republicans say the Biden administration is overstepping its authority. They also accuse the relief plan of being financially irresponsible and unfair to those who have repaid their loans and to those who have never been to college.

Finding a plaintiff who has standing to sue — that is, someone who has been wronged by the program — is proving to be a hurdle for the Republican effort. “The difficulty here is finding a plaintiff who the courts will find has standing,” Cruz said. “It can be a real challenge.” Conservative legal operators “need to find a client with the reputation and courage to take legal action,” the Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm told the Post. “There are several groups in our network that are exploring this right now.”

Assuming Republicans can clear that hurdle, some legal experts say an action challenging the president’s legal authority could have a good chance of succeeding — especially if the case makes it to the now conservative-dominated Supreme Court. who show no sign of shyness. politically charged decisions.

Fordham Law School professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman, who has said he supports Biden’s policies, told the Post that the national emergency argument on which the White House relies is weak. “If they continue with this argument and this interpretation of the law, it is likely that they will lose 6 to 3, and it is possible that they will lose by more than 6 to 3,” Shugerman said, referring to a possible vote of the Supreme Court. “I anticipate that this good policy will be rightly overturned by the courts on a legal level.”

Other legal experts say that no matter how strong the argument over executive authority, Republicans might not be able to solve the fundamental problem of finding someone with standing to sue in the first place. “It is highly unlikely that any of these groups could prove that they suffered legally recognizable harm that would give them standing to challenge these actions,” said Abby Shafroth of the National Consumer Law Center.
told the insider.

Whatever the outcome, the fact that Republicans are taking legal action means that borrowers who would benefit from the program cannot be entirely sure that their debts will be forgiven. Even if the courts ultimately dismiss the Republican lawsuits, there could be delays in the program taking effect as judges consider the claims and counterclaims. “In the meantime, the uncertainty for borrowers is, I fear, considerable,” said Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor,
told CNBC.

Pollution much more costly than government estimates: report

A new analysis
in the journal Nature suggests that the economic cost to society of each additional ton of carbon dioxide emissions is far greater than what the federal government currently estimates when evaluating new regulations.

The Washington Post’s Dino Grandoni and Brady Dennis
Explain what they call the main finding of the new research: “Each additional ton of carbon dioxide that cars, power plants and other sources add to the atmosphere costs society $185, more than triple the current figure from the federal government.”

They add that these estimates have been controversial and have been the subject of much partisan debate.

Why is this important: “Value is an essential input into many federal policies — whether drilling for oil, increasing the energy efficiency of appliances, allowing a power plant to continue burning coal,” write Grandoni. and Dennis. “Setting the cost of carbon high would encourage clean energy projects, deter new coal leases on federal acreage, and influence the type of steel used in taxpayer-funded infrastructure.”

California is spending $54 billion on the climate

On Wednesday night, California lawmakers passed legislation providing for
$53.9 billion climate spending over five years. The New York Times
reports“This includes $6.1 billion for electric vehicles, including money to buy new battery-powered school buses, $14.8 billion for transit and rail projects, more than $8 billion for $2.7 billion to clean up the power grid, $2.7 billion to fight wildfires, and $2.8 billion for water programs to help the state deal with the drought.

Golden State’s latest climate bills follow a recent ban on the sale of new internal combustion vehicles in the state by 2035. Latest measures include a bill approving a refundable tax credit $1,000 for low-income California residents.
who does not own a car.

The Times adds that California’s actions build on the $370 billion in federal climate funding in the Cut Inflation Act recently signed into law by Democrats, noting that federal funding “will not be enough. to eliminate U.S. greenhouse gases by 2050, a goal climate scientists say the world as a whole must achieve to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. the White House said states must also take stronger action.