Durbin, Schumer, Murray, Scott, Lee Statement On Senate Vote Overturning DeVos Borrower Defense Rule

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and U.S. Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Susie Lee (D-NV-03), released the following statements after the Senate’s 53-42 bipartisan vote to approve Congressional Review Act (CRA) H.J.Res. 76, to overturn the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 Borrower Defense rule that guts essential protections for student borrowers and taxpayers. The resolution now heads to President Trump for signature.

“Today, Republicans and Democrats came together to stand up for defrauded student veterans and borrowers,” Durbin said. “Congress has now made clear to Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration that we expect borrowers who are defrauded by their schools to have a fair path to student debt relief under the borrower defense provision of the Higher Education Act.  Mr. President, join Republicans and Democrats in Congress in standing up with the American people and the veteran community. Sign this resolution to overturn this rule.”

“With this vote, the message to the Trump administration and the predatory institutions Secretary DeVos is propping up is clear: You can’t cheat students and get away with it,” said Schumer. “I am glad that some of my Republicans colleagues joined Senate Democrats in taking a stand against these for-profit institutions that have been looking to taking advantage of our students, particularly veterans, for far too long.”

“For so many cheated borrowers, getting relief on their student debt can mean all the difference—and help them finally get back on their feet,” said Murray. “Secretary DeVos’ disastrous new rule was intentionally designed to make it harder for defrauded borrowers to get relief. It’s cruel and it’s wrong, and I’m glad that today the Senate voted to overturn it. It’s high time this Administration finally prioritize the interests of students, instead of helping predatory institutions with their bottom line.”

"Student borrowers who are defrauded by predatory colleges should have access to timely and meaningful debt relief. But under Secretary DeVos’s rewrite of the Borrower Defense rule, an overwhelming majority of defrauded borrowers would be denied the relief they deserve—leaving them with mountains of debt and a worthless degree. Today, a bipartisan coalition in the Senate agreed that this rule must be repealed. While reversing this harmful proposal is an important first step, ultimately there is only one clear way to stop the Department from weakening consumer protections in higher education: We must pass a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that protects students and taxpayers. The College Affordability Act is a comprehensive overhaul of our higher education system that cracks down on low-quality, predatory schools and restores Obama-era protections for students and taxpayers. This administration is failing to provide defrauded students necessary relief, and it’s Congress’ responsibility to stand up for their interests,” said Scott.

“Today, Congress made it clear to the American people that we stand with defrauded students over predatory schools. Thank you to Senator Durbin and all of my colleagues in the Senate who voted for our resolution to overturn Secretary Betsy DeVos's harmful Borrower Defense Rule. Overturning this rule is good for students, good for veterans, and good for taxpayers. But the fight is not over. I hope that President Trump signs this bill into law for hundreds of thousands of students in our country to show that they have the right to pursue a quality education without being taken advantage of by predatory schools. I hope the President stands with Congress to show American taxpayers that they will not be forced to foot the bill for the fraudulent behavior of shady institutions. Today, members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, showed up and found a solution to a serious problem. Let's build on this momentum and continue to create the broad, bipartisan coalition needed to create a quality, affordable higher education system that works for every American,” said Lee.

Video of a press conference following today’s vote with Durbin and Lee is available here.

In September, Durbin introduced the Senate version of the CRA (S.J.Res. 56) and the House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan basis in January to pass its version of the measure, H.J.Res. 76, introduced by Lee.

The resolutions were supported by a number of organizations, including veterans’ organizations such as The American Legion.

The DeVos borrower defense rule makes it almost impossible for borrowers who are defrauded by their school or harmed by their school’s closure to receive the relief to which they are entitled, and which Congress intended, under the Higher Education Act (HEA). According to an analysis by The Institute for College Access and Success, the DeVos borrower defense rule will cancel just three percent of all loans associated with misconduct.

CRA resolutions of disapproval allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions of federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers. 

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