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Biden admin asks high court to reinstate student debt relief

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The U.S Justice Department on Friday asked the Supreme Court to lift a lower court ruling that blocked President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel billions of dollars in student debt in a challenge brought by six Republican-led states.

The government asked the high court to vacate a Nov. 14 decision by the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant a request by Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina for an injunction against the plan.

The White House has said it will prevail, but even some supporters of the plan worry about its chances before a conservative Supreme Court that has scaled back Biden’s authority in other ways, including in a June decision curbing the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to limit power plan emissions.

Biden’s plan promises $10,000 in federal student debt forgiveness to those with incomes of less than $125,000, or households earning less than $250,000. Pell Grant recipients, who typically demonstrate more financial need, are eligible for an additional $10,000 in relief.

Keeping the debt relief on hold would leave the government with an “unnecessarily perilous choice,” the administration argued in its filing. If it restarts student loan payments as planned on Jan. 1, millions of Americans will get billed for debt that was promised to be canceled. But if the government extends the payment pause, it will cost billions of dollars in lost revenue.

It builds on arguments the administration made in other filings this week, warning that many Americans won’t be able to pay their student debt bills in January if the cancellation plan remains halted.

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.