Joe Biden gave a disastrous interview to “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. He stated that if China attacked Taiwan, we would provide U.S. troops, and the White House had to rush out to clean that up. He tried to spin the heck out of questions regarding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (which he called the “Drategic Petroleum Reserve”) and his son Hunter, but it didn’t go well. He lied his head off about inflation and he even declared that the pandemic was “over.”
That last part is already driving some on the left crazy that he would say that because they’re so stuck in that mode of having their lives controlled by that fear.
But beyond that, as Charles Cooke observes, Biden’s big excuse — the alleged legal underpinnings — for the student loan bailout was the pandemic. The bailout was based on there being an emergency. If there is no more emergency, then the excuse goes away and we’re just talking about an illegal act on the part of Joe Biden. Of course, the excuse was ridiculously flimsy to start with.
Back in August, Biden’s lawyers argued with half-straight faces that the 2003 HEROES Act — which, as Bloomberg Law has noted, was passed not as a generalized enabling act but “to help borrowers serving in the military in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks” — could be twisted to apply to any national emergency, including pandemics such as Covid-19. This, of course, was nonsense. Among the specific problems with Biden’s argument was that the 2003 HEROES Act does not cover debt cancelation (i.e., transference to taxpayers); that its “direct economic hardship” language does not allow for mass relief; that the application of its “or national emergency” language clearly violates the major questions doctrine; and that the administration’s insistence that the act was designed to allow the executive branch “to act quickly should a situation arise that has not been considered” was flatly contradicted by the fact that the president waited until two-and-a-half years into the pandemic before acting, and then gave relief to the most privileged people in America. But, even if one were to ignore all that, one could still not get past the fact that the powers to which Biden laid claim can be applied only when there is an active emergency, and that the active emergency Biden is citing has now passed.
Biden had already shown that the excuse was baseless because he had claimed in May, regarding Title 42, that the emergency had passed. But then he used it anyway to justify his student debt bailout in August. So not only wasn’t it legitimate, he knew it wasn’t legitimate according to his own Administration’s declarations three months earlier.
So exactly what is the legal basis for the bailout now? And if there is no legal basis for Joe Biden to transfer billions in debt onto the American taxpayers, that sounds like it could be an impeachable act to me.
Of course, it’s not just the bailout, this declaration potentially impacts all manner of legal cases winding their way through the courts now, as George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley observed.
Yet, the Justice Department is still citing the pandemic authority and insisting that “if an employee chooses not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (and is ineligible for an exception), he simply may no longer be permitted to continue in federal employment, just as an employee would be subject to termination if she chose to stop performing her job or chose to violate workplace policies.” [….]
Now the President is declaring that the pandemic is over as the Justice Department is defending pandemic policies in various courts. Even if one were to argue that the policy should be reviewed as supported at the time, the continued viability of the policy can now be questioned in light of the President’s own statements. The President’s comments also highlight the fluidity of pandemic policies. While we often look to the CDC on such status statements, it is the President who ultimately decides federal policies on pandemic measures.
If the pandemic “is over,” some may question the continued uncertain status of military personnel and federal employees on vaccine status as well as lingering mask mandates being used in some states and by certain businesses.
Indeed, if it’s true, what’s the excuse for any of the continuing mandates? Joe Biden just stepped in it big time and swept the leg out from under all his excuses.