Could the Senate reprimand DeVos for the Borrower Defense Rule?

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Despite President Trump’s controversial policies, it was rare for the Republican Senate to formally condemn the government. But lobbyists on both sides of the Debate on the Borrower Defense Rule of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos say it is increasingly possible for the Republican Senate, along with the Democratic House, to blame the government for the rule that makes it harder for duped students makes to get their education awarded loans.

Lobbyists representing groups that both support and oppose the rule keep on predicting that the resolution sponsored by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois will be passed. But they say several Republicans are on the fence, making it possible for the proposal to get the four Republican votes it needs to pass.

In fact, none of the eight moderate Republican senators or those facing a tough re-election race who contacted this week would say they will oppose the proposal. Instead, aides either said the senators were undecided or refused to say where they stand.

“I heard the resolution was at stake,” said Steve Gonzalez, senior vice president of government, military and veterans’ relations at career education colleges and universities. The group representing for-profit institutions supports the rule and opposes the resolution of the disapproval.

The same assessment came from the other side. “At a time when party politics is often the headline of media reports, we are encouraged by the number of Republican offices ready to stand with service members, veterans and their families,” wrote Carrie Wofford, a former Senate health officer , via email, and now president of Veterans Education Success, which leads veterans group efforts to advocate the resolution. Although the rule affects all types of students, it has met with particular opposition from groups of veterans.

Federal regulations require that no more than 90 percent of the income of a for-profit institution comes from federal student funding. But veterans have been particularly targeted by for-profit institutions, according to Wofford’s group, as the benefits of military training are not considered student aid.

The resolution passed in the Democratic House in January is likely to be vetoed by Trump anyway. And Gonzalez dismissed it as a primarily political platform.

“For Senator Durbin and many of his supporters, it is just an opportunity to throw eggs in the face of the government instead of doing the right thing,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “This is more of a pitfall than trying to legislate.”

The resolution has substance, responded Tanya Ang, vice president of Veterans Education Success. “This is not about administration or party politics, but about protecting students from schools that have exploited or lied to school veterans.”

Beth Stein, Senior Advisor at the Institute for College Access & Success, refused to give a veto. “The bipartisan support for betrayed students and veterans demonstrated in the House of Representatives vote shows that the stories [members of Congress] hear from both parties from borrowers who have been lied to for them. We’ll see if the Senate and maybe even the President approve, ”she said in a statement.

Supporters of the measure hope that six Republicans crossed party lines and supported the House measure. The Senate will have to vote on the resolution, although it is uncertain when, said a Durbin adviser.

The Senate has passed similar resolutions against Trump’s policies on at least three issues. Eleven Republicans backed a resolution on his declaration of emergency in November 2019 to gain access to funds for a border wall. In June 2019, seven Republicans voted for a resolution against arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other nations. Five of them also supported a resolution against arms sales in favor of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other nations.

In March 2018, three Republicans joined the Democrats in disapproving of the Trump administration’s replacement of the net neutrality rules created during the Obama administration.

While it would be unusual for Republicans to openly oppose Trump administration policies, Gonzalez said that some Republican senators facing a tough re-election race may be concerned about opposing a measure that generates heated rhetoric.

Indeed, Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Brad Bainum on Thursday attacked Republican Senator Martha McSally, who failed to disclose her position on the resolution and whose race against Democrat Mark Kelly is viewed by the Cook Political Report as a “toss-up” will. “Martha McSally puts her party leaders and business prospects first in Washington, so it’s no surprise she’s willing to sell off scammed student borrowers after taking thousands of for-profit schools and over $ 72,000 from DeVos’ extended family has taken, “Bainum said in a statement. Neither McSally’s campaign nor her Senate office returned requests for comment.

The debate stems from a spate of loan dismissal requests following the collapse of the for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges in 2015. In response, the Obama administration clarified government rules in 2016 to make it easier for students to get fired.

For-profit institutions represented by the Gonzalez group complained about their elimination. Some institutions feared that the rule would tag them for unintentional marketing mistakes, rather than deliberately misrepresenting things like graduate employability.

DeVos announced its own regulation in August, even against the Education Department’s estimates that the rule could cost US $ 42 billion over the next ten years.

While dismissal requests currently fall under the Obama rule, those filed after July 1 fall under DeVos’ stricter rules.

However, the rule is under attack by Congress and the courts. Last week, the Project on Predatory Student Lending and the Public Citizen Litigation Group jointly filed a federal lawsuit in New York that would block it.


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