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Ilhan Omar Blasts Ted Cruz Over GOP Plan to Kill Student Debt Relief

Republicans are turning to the Supreme Court in a desperate bid to block debt relief. Progressives are pushing back.

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during the America First Agenda Summit, at the Marriott Marquis hotel on July 26, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday called Republican Sen. Ted Cruz a “miserable little weasel” for actively seeking out ways to get the Supreme Court to block President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for most federal borrowers.

The Texas Republican is one of many GOP officials exploring a potential legal challenge to Biden’s student debt relief plan, which is popular with voters — including those without debt and those who have paid off their debt — and could benefit more than 40 million borrowers across the U.S.

“What a miserable little weasel, no wonder they call him ‘Lucifer in the flesh,'” Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted in response to news that Cruz and a litigator have been discussing tactics to get the debt relief plan before the Supreme Court, which is packed with Republican appointees.

“Fortunately, student debt cancellation is legally sound and should withstand legal scrutiny,” Omar argued. “Set your alerts for the application in October, if you qualify for relief, and file before the end of December.”

The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein reported Tuesday that Cruz — who has falsely criticized debt cancellation as an attack on the working class — “says a top Supreme Court litigator told him that the best potential plaintiff for establishing ‘standing’ to overturn Biden’s student debt plan would be a student loan processor.”

Additionally, Stein noted, Cruz predicted the Supreme Court would support tanking debt relief by a vote of 6-3 — an outcome that even some supporters of debt cancellation have warned is possible, given questions about the legal justification that the administration chose as well as the right-wing bent of the U.S. courts.

Since Biden announced his debt cancellation plan last month, Republican lawmakers, GOP attorneys general, and dark money groups have been searching for plaintiffs with legal standing to sue the administration — a difficult task because the challenger would have to demonstrate harm from the executive action.

As Inside Higher Ed noted Tuesday, student loan servicers “could say they are losing out on revenue” if Biden’s plan is implemented, but so far “no loan servicers have indicated that they are interested in a legal challenge.”

Progressives were quick to take Cruz and other Republicans to task for turning to student loan servicers — widely reviled private entities with long histories of abuse and mismanagement — to prevent student debt relief.

“In millions of households around the country, the name ‘Navient’ is practically like saying Voldemort,” the Debt Collective tweeted, referring to one of the largest student loan companies in the country. “Please Ted Cruz, make our day.”

“Let’s put this in terms you can understand, Ted: for the working class, student loan servicers are what 87,000 IRS agents are for your rich friends,” the Debt Collective wrote.

Indivisible, a progressive advocacy organization, added that “we have backed Republicans into defending student loan servicers.”

“The campaign ads practically write themselves,” the group declared.

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