During his first sit-down interview in ages, last Sunday on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” President Joe Biden proclaimed that the COVID pandemic is over without stopping to consider the implications behind such a remark.
In declaring the pandemic over, President Biden inadvertently shot holes in his administration’s justification for the taxpayer-funded student debt bailout he announced last month.
The White House justified unilaterally forcing American taxpayers to foot the bill for up to half a trillion dollars in student loan debt based entirely on the 2003 HEROES Act.
Under the HEROES Act, the Secretary of Education has “waiver authority to respond to a war or other military operation or national emergency.”
With this authority, the Education Secretary can “waive or modify” any statute or regulation related to student financial assistance programs as he deems necessary “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency.”
In justifying the student loan bailout, the White House argued that since there is still a COVID national emergency, the Education Secretary can “forgive” student debt without Congressional authorization.
But if the pandemic is over, as President Biden clearly said, there is no justification for the student debt bailout since there is no national emergency and the HEROES Act does not apply.
And while President Biden was oblivious to the implications of this remark, the people in charge of the Biden administration were not.
The following day, the White House quickly walked back the president’s “60 Minutes” declaration, explaining that there has been no change to the White House’s pandemic policy.