From Your Lobbyist: House Blocks BD Rule, Warren to Cancel Loans
January 17, 2020
Week of Jan 13-17
Despite the intense advocacy of the national education groups, dozens of consumer and student groups, and AYA from 2018-2019 against the Trump Administration’s rewrite of the borrower defense rules, the Department’s new rules are set to effect July 1, 2020. To stop these rules, which would make it harder for defrauded students to discharge their loan debt, the House of Representatives yesterday passed legislation mostly along party lines (231-180) that would use the “Congressional Review Act” (CRA) to block the rules from taking effect. In essence, the Democrats are using a legislative tool that Republicans took advantage in thee last Congress to scrap a ton of Obama era regulations, like climate change rules and teacher preparation regulations. So in essence, the Dems are taking a page out of the Republican playbook to block Trump regulations. You can read more about AYA’s position on the BD rule and the comments we filed with the Department of Education here.
While the Dem pool of candidates may be shrinking, the platforms and promises of those left standing continue to get bigger and bolder. Earlier this week, Senator Warren (D-MA), a huge champion of cancelling student loan debt who has introduced several pieces of legislation to that effect, revealed a shockingly bold plan in the event she can’t get Congress on board during her presidency to wipe out a majority of student debt. Her answer: use an Executive Order. Rather than going through the normal policymaking channel of passing bills in Congress, her plan would use the existing authority of the Department of Education (an administrative agency) to cancel student debt via an executive order. Politico reported earlier this week that “Warren is now the first major 2020 presidential candidate to call for implementing a massive student loan forgiveness program through executive action without congressional approval. Her new position reflects the political challenges that loan forgiveness would face in Congress, especially if Republicans were to maintain control of the Senate.” The details of her plan are very similar to what the “Student Loan Debt Relief Act”, proposed by Sen. Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Clyburrn (D-SC) last year, which AYA strongly endorsed. No shocker here, Republicans are not only opposed to the policy of cancelling debt outright, but even more vehemently against the idea of using a Presidential power despite the will of Congress to get it done. In their defense, it even makes some Democrats have cold feet and to be honest, it would actually be better if this policy were to pass with the support of Congress and the future Administration.