April 26, 2017

Murray, Warren, Scott, Bonamici Urge Secretary DeVos to Reinstate Student Loan Protections

More than 130 Members of Congress urge Secretary DeVos to reverse her decision to scrap Obama-era student loan servicing reforms

On April 4, Secretary DeVos rescinded policy memos that included consumer protections for borrowers

Washington, D.C. - Led by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), more than 130 Members of Congress sent a letter today to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urging her to reverse a decision to rescind Obama-era memos on student loan servicing reforms. The reforms had included new consumer protections for borrowers and improvements to the quality of federal loan servicing.

"Your decision to rescind these memos-including the guidance making servicers' past performance and record of compliance with the law the most important non-cost factor in the evaluation-will put millions of borrowers and taxpayers at risk," wrote the Members of Congress. "Without accounting for past performance, federal contracts will be open to bidders that have previously violated state or federal consumer protection laws, mistreated members of our military, and consistently ignored the needs of their borrowers."

On April 11, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education announced Secretary DeVos was rescinding three critical policy memos intended to reform the student loan servicing process meant to better assist borrowers in managing their loans, hold servicers accountable, and set financial incentives that will best support the interest of students. The memos were issued by the Obama Administration following a request from Senate Democrats for common-sense improvements to the student loan servicing process.

House Democrats also requested the Department continue to improve the student loan collection and servicing processes for struggling borrowers. After DeVos' latest action, it is unclear how the Department intends to move forward with the current contracts for student loan servicing which are worth more than $840 million per year.

"With one in four student loan borrowers in default or delinquent on their federal student loans, it is the responsibility of the Department to address the student debt crisis and ensure that all service providers in the student loan program are doing everything they can to put students and families first ahead of the profits of student loan companies," wrote the Members.

The letter was signed by a total of 25 Senators. In addition to Senators Murray and Warren, the letter was signed by Durbin (D-IL), Brown (D-OH), Leahy (D-VT), Sanders (I-VT), Harris (D-CA), Feinstein (D-CA), Baldwin (D-WI), Franken (D-MN), Murphy (D-CT), Blumenthal (D-CT), Reed (D-RI), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR), Merkley (D-OR), Markey (D-MA), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Udall (D-NM), Hirono (D-HI), Menendez (D-NJ), Booker (D-NJ), Schatz (D-HI), Kaine (D-VA), and Cantwell (D-WA).

The letter was signed by a total of 111 House Democrats. In addition to Representatives Scott and Bonamici, the letter was signed by Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ron Kind (D-WI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Daniel W. Lipinski (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Gwen S. Moore (D-WI), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Val Butler Demings (D-FL), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Peter Welch (D-VT), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Mark Desaulnier (D-CA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (D-VA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Suzan Delbene (D-WA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-MN), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Anthony G. Brown (D-MD), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), David Scott (D-GA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), John Lewis (D-GA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Denny Heck (D-WA), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), José E. Serrano (D-NY), Judy Chu (D-CA), Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Peter Defazio (D-OR), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rosa L. Delauro (D-CT), Diana Degette (D-CO), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Al Green (D-TX), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Ruben J. Kihuen (D-NV), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Gene Green (D-TX), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), William R. Keating (D-MA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rick Nolan (D-MN), John K. Delaney (D-MD), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), André Carson (D-IN), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY), and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

The text of the full letter can be found here.