BPC Action Statement on Congressional Review Act in Education and Workforce

The following is a statement from Michele Stockwell, Executive Director of BPC Action, on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) under consideration by the U.S. Senate, which would overturn the Education Department’s updated borrower defense regulations.

“BPC Action supports the borrower defense CRA, which was passed by a bipartisan vote in the House. The CRA would revert regulations announced by the Department of Education in September 2019 to the 2016 rule, thereby providing crucial support for student borrowers who have been harmed by predatory higher education programs.

“The Department of Education is right to act in support of defrauded borrowers and hold institutions accountable. Yet, if implemented, the 2019 rule would prevent many borrowers from accessing the loan forgiveness necessary to make them whole and enable a fresh start. Specifically, the updated rule would allow institutions to require that their enrolling students sign class action waivers or pre-arbitration agreements, which would limit the recourse available to borrowers in the event of school closure. Further, the rule would greatly reduce statutes of limitations and put in place burdensome application requirements, increasing red tape and making the loan discharge process more difficult for affected students.

“It should be noted that the 2016 rule is far from perfect. For example, it provides inadequate clarification surrounding partial loan relief, leading to potentially higher costs for taxpayers. That said, the 2019 version goes too far in the other direction, placing undue roadblocks between affected students and the loan forgiveness that they should be entitled to, rendering the 2016 rule our preferred starting point for renewed negotiations.”