A federal appeals court Monday issued a nationwide injunction temporarily barring the Biden administration’s student loan debt relief program.
The ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis is the latest in a series of legal challenges to President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of Americans. The Biden administration stopped accepting applications for its relief on Friday after a federal district judge in Texas struck down its plan Thursday evening, calling it “unconstitutional.”
Monday’s decision by the appeals court came after six GOP-led states argued in a lawsuit that the loan relief program threatens their future tax revenues and that the plan circumvents congressional authority.
“The injunction will remain in effect until further order of this court or the Supreme Court of the United States,” a three-judge panel of the appeals court said in its ruling.
The injunction will put the program on hold pending an appeal of a lower court ruling that had allowed the debt relief program to go forward. The Biden administration could ask the Supreme Court to lift the injunction.
“We are confident in our legal authority for the student debt relief program and believe it is necessary to help borrowers most in need as they recover from the pandemic,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “The Administration will continue to fight these baseless lawsuits by Republican officials and special interests and will never stop fighting to support working and middle class Americans.”
Monday, November 14, 2022
While in office, President Donald J. Trump repeatedly told John F. Kelly, his second White House chief of staff, that he wanted a number of his perceived political enemies to be investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Kelly, who was chief of staff from July 2017 through the end of 2018, said in response to questions from The New York Times that Mr. Trump’s demands were part of a broader pattern of him trying to use the Justice Department and his authority as president against people who had been critical of him, including seeking to revoke the security clearances of former top intelligence officials.
Mr. Kelly said that among those Mr. Trump said “we ought to investigate” and “get the I.R.S. on” were the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe. His account of Mr. Trump’s desires to use the I.R.S. against his foes comes after the revelation by The Times this summer that Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe had both been selected for a rare and highly intrusive audit by the tax agency in the years after Mr. Kelly left the White House.
Mr. Trump has said he knows nothing about the audits. The I.R.S. has asked its inspector general to investigate, and officials have insisted the two men were selected randomly for the audits.
Mr. Kelly said he made clear to Mr. Trump that there were serious legal and ethical issues with what he wanted. He said that despite the president’s expressed desires to have Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe investigated by the I.R.S., he believes that he led Mr. Trump during his tenure as chief of staff to forgo trying to have such investigations conducted.
After Mr. Kelly left the administration, Mr. Comey was informed in 2019 that his 2017 returns were being audited, and Mr. McCabe learned in 2021 that his 2019 returns were being audited. At the time both audits occurred, the I.R.S. was led by a Trump political appointee.
Mr. Trump regularly made his demands in response to news reports in which he thought his perceived enemies made him look bad. The president would carry on about having them investigated to the point that Mr. Kelly thought he needed to tell the president that what he wanted was highly problematic, explaining, in sometimes heated conversations, that what Mr. Trump wanted was not just potentially illegal and immoral but also could blow back on him.
Mr. Trump would eventually let the idea go, Mr. Kelly said, but during subsequent outbursts about his enemies he would again bring up his desires to have them investigated.
Throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency he regularly, in both public and private, ranted about Mr. Comey, whom Mr. Trump had fired in May 2017, and Mr. McCabe, who played a leading role in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Mr. Kelly said that along with Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe, Mr. Trump discussed using the I.R.S. and the Justice Department to investigate the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan; Hillary Clinton; Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, whose coverage often angered Mr. Trump; Peter Strzok, the lead F.B.I. agent on the Russia investigation; and Lisa Page, an F.B.I. official who exchanged text messages with Mr. Strzok that were critical of Mr. Trump.
Let's get this out of the way first: John Fetterman was the lone Senate pickup for the Dems. He beat Dr. Oz by four, almost five points. Having achieved where other candidates failed, it's fair to ask if Fetterman is the blueprint for Dems to win back white working-class voters, because he did.
Did John Fetterman just show Democrats how to solve their white-working-class problem?
Mr. Fetterman’s decisive victory in Pennsylvania’s Senate race — arguably Democrats’ biggest win of the midterms, flipping a Republican-held seat — was achieved in no small part because he did significantly better in counties dominated by white working-class voters compared with Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020.
These voters for years have been thought to be all but lost to Democrats, ever since Donald J. Trump turned out explosively high numbers of white voters in rural and exurban counties, especially in Pennsylvania and the northern Midwest. Mr. Biden recaptured Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin two years ago largely by drumming up support in the suburbs, while working-class white voters stuck with Mr. Trump.
But Mr. Fetterman, with his tattoos and Carhartt wardrobe, and priorities like marijuana legalization, appears to have regained ground with the white working class — though whether he persuaded many Trump voters to back him, or whether he improved on Mr. Biden with the demographic in other ways, awaits more detailed data.
“It was enormously beneficial,” Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, said of Mr. Fetterman’s red-county incursion. “It’s really what Democrats have to try to do. I know we’ve had a debate in our party — you work to get your urban and suburban base out and hope for the best.” But Mr. Fetterman showed that a Democratic win in a battleground state could also run through rural Republican regions, Mr. Casey said.
Mr. Fetterman’s 4.4-percentage-point victory over Mehmet Oz, his Republican opponent, outpaced Mr. Biden’s 1.2-point win in Pennsylvania in 2020. Mr. Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, who posed for his official portrait in an open-collar gray work shirt, won a larger share of votes than Mr. Biden did in almost every county.
In suburban counties, where the Oz campaign tried to undermine Mr. Fetterman with college-educated voters by painting him as an extremist and soft on crime, Mr. Fetterman largely held onto Democratic gains of recent years, winning about 1 percentage point more of the votes than Mr. Biden did in 2020.
Mr. Fetterman’s biggest gains were in deep-red counties dominated by white working-class voters. He didn’t win these places outright, but he drove up the margins for a Democrat by 3, 4 or 5 points compared with Mr. Biden.
“Pennsylvania elections are about margins, and he cut into the margins Republicans had across the counties that they usually control,” said Christopher Borick, a political scientist and pollster at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. “He got a lot of looks from voters who aren’t very open to looking at Democrats right now.”
In almost no county did Mr. Fetterman improve on Mr. Biden’s margin more than in Armstrong County, in the northern exurbs of Pittsburgh, where more than 97 percent of residents are white and fewer than one in five adults has a four-year college degree.
“I expected him to win, but I didn’t think he’d do that well,” said Robert Beuth, 72, a retired factory worker in the county who voted for Mr. Fetterman, speaking of the statewide result. “I think the biggest drawback for a lot of people about Oz is that he moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to run for election. To me that’s not right.” He added that he hoped Mr. Fetterman and other Democrats in Congress would “come up with some ideas” to help “poor people working two or three jobs just to get by.”