For media inquiries please contact Chris Lowery (225) 726-1822 or

Today, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy filed suit on behalf of Louisiana attorney Tommy Badeaux, challenging the Biden Administration’s illegal student loan debt cancellation program.

”You can’t carte blanche cancel half a trillion dollars of debts owed to the taxpayers without consulting them,” said Daniel Erspamer, CEO of the Pelican Institute. “That’s bad policy. And in this instance, it’s also illegal and unconstitutional. Congress and the people they represent should’ve been involved in a decision that will affect millions of Americans and do nothing to lower the cost of getting an education.”

The Administration claims its authority to issue mass student loan debt cancellation stems from the HEROES Act, passed in 2003 to help service members struggling with debts during war or natural disasters.

“The Administration used a law that was meant to protect service members as a means to usurp the entire legislative and administrative process,” said James Baehr, Special Counsel at the Pelican Institute. “Congress is where this debate should’ve occurred. But, under pressure from progressive activists, the Biden Administration hijacked a good law to produce a terrible policy in a brazen act of executive overreach.”

In its nearly twenty-year history, due to its actual intent and purpose, no one would’ve ever assumed the HEROES Act applied to general student debt cancellation. The Biden Administration claims they were able to craft this executive order, and not follow the Administrative Procedures Act, without external input due to an exemption within the Heroes Act. Yet, because the HEROES Act doesn’t apply at all to mass student debt cancellation, there is no authority for the President to issue such an executive order.

Moreover, the bad incentives created by this executive action will lead to increased legislation by executive branch bureaucrats without fixing the skyrocketing costs of higher education.

“We filed this lawsuit to hold the Biden Administration accountable,” said Sarah Harbison, General Counsel at the Pelican Institute. “Programs like these must be debated in the open, not crafted in secret.”

This is the third lawsuit the Pelican Institute has filed against the Biden Administration for abuse of power. The first two, BST Holdings v. OSHA and Brick v. Biden, resulted in courts striking down the vaccine or test mandate for businesses and Head Start teachers.