NEW: Biden Blocked by Supreme Court

( – President Joe Biden’s controversial $400 billion student debt forgiveness program will remain blocked for at least two more months after the US Supreme Court said it would hold a hearing on it in February.

Six Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit against the program, arguing Biden did not have the power to use the coronavirus pandemic as a justification for the student loan forgiveness scheme.

The Supreme Court announcement means a lower court decision blocking the president’s program would remain in place until the February hearing, The New York Post reported.

Last month, the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit Court of Appeals placed a preliminary injunction on the plan.

The injunction was supposed to last until the court considered an appeal by the Republican-led states after a lower court had ruled that they didn’t have the standing to dispute the Biden student debt relief program.

The 8th Circuit upheld the standing of the six states – Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina.

It ruled that the Biden plan “will prevent or delay Missouri from funding higher education at its public colleges and universities.”

The attorneys general of the six GOP-led states said the debt write-off would hurt the finances of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, which services US government-held loans to students across the country.

The 8th Circuit decision was issued by a three-judge panel, including two appointees of President Donald Trump and one of President George W. Bush.

As the six Republican-led states insisted that the president had overstepped the constitutional limits of his power with the student debt relief plan, the Biden administration has asserted it was entitled to implement the loan write-off as per the HEROES Act.

The law adopted in 2003 provides the executive branch of the US government with broad powers in a time of national emergency.

Biden announced his student debt program in August, but a month later, he declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was over.

In another legal setback for the president’s plan, the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals declined a request by the administration to pause a Texas judge’s ruling that blocked the program’s implementation.

US District Judge Mark T. Pittman ruled on November 10 that President Joe Biden had overstepped his authority.

Biden’s student debt relief plan provides for canceling up to $10,000 in debt for individuals (up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients) earning less than $125,000 per year or households earning less than $250,000 per year.