The Pandemic Is Over, Except When Politicians Need It To Justify Their Plans
Authorities cite COVID-19 to justify extensions of student loan payment pause, immigrant expulsion order. COVID-19 is still around, but The Pandemic—a threat so pervasive and severe it requires a wide-scale reorganizing of society—is over. That’s long been Republicans’ position, and lately even President Joe Biden has agreed. And yet… both sides are still using The Pandemic to excuse extraordinary political measures.
For Democrats especially but also Republicans, the COVID-19 pandemic is over except when it’s politically convenient to say that it’s not. It’s over except when it comes to justifying programs they like and don’t otherwise have the support or authority to enact.
For the Biden administration, this means suspending the requirement that student loans must be repaid. Legal challenges have halted Biden’s plan to totally wipe out a lot of student loan debt, something his administration is cynically portraying as some sort of cruel obstacle to their benevolence, rather than the way our democratic process works. So the administration has once again extended a moratorium on student loan payment collection that was first issued at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment moratorium—which has now been extended nine times, including six times under President Biden—was set to expire on January 1, 2023. It will now be extended until 60 days after court cases regarding the debt forgiveness plan are resolved or, if they are not resolved by the end of next June, 60 days after that.
For Republicans, this means fighting to keep in place an immigrant expulsion measure known as Title 42—also invoked in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic to justify an extraordinary policy. Part of the Public Health Service Act, it says the federal government can take emergency steps to stop the spread of disease. The Trump administration cited it as grounds for the immediate expulsion of migrants caught crossing U.S. borders and for denying these migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum.
“Between March 2020 and August 2022, U.S. border officials carried out over 2 million Title 42 migrant expulsions,” noted Reason‘s Fiona Harrigan recently. “Former CDC Director Robert Redfield extended the Title 42 order for one month and then indefinitely. The Biden administration sometimes fought to keep the order in place and then tried to rescind it, only to be challenged by a federal judge.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the order. Under the ruling, it would cease to apply on December 21.
Now, 15 states—all but one led by Republicans—filed a motion to intervene in the case, which would allow them to fight to keep the immigrant expulsion order in place. The motion was filed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana
Article from Reason.com