Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers

Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers
© Greg Nash

Congressional Democrats are calling on Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOvernight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to take over Afghan war Warren: Trump should have fired Pruitt ‘28 scandals ago’ MORE to reverse course and reinstate agreements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect student borrowers from student loan fraud.

Earlier this month, DeVos reportedly canceled agreements with the CFPB from 2011 and 2013, claiming the bureau had used Education Department data to expand its oversight role to include the department’s contracted federal loan servicers, overstepping its boundaries.

In a letter to DeVos on Thursday, Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices could offer a way forward in fight against mushrooming costs MORE (Ohio) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTop Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families Jane Fonda: Kavanaugh confirmation would be a 'catastrophe' MORE (Wash.) along with Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottTop Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments Overnight Health Care: Judge blocks Kentucky Medicaid work requirements | Trump officials consider cuts to ObamaCare outreach | House probes HHS office in charge of migrant children Top House Dems request broad investigations into Trump immigration policy MORE (Va.) and 39 other members of Congress said revoking these agreements reflect “a fundamental misunderstanding” of the Education Department’s authority and that of other federal agencies.

“While the Department does have authority to administer federal student loan programs, that authority is not exclusive and have been intentionally constrained by law due to the Department’s historical negligence in carrying out many of its oversight responsibilities over federal student loan services,” they wrote.

The lawmakers said multiple federal regulators and law enforcement agencies serve important roles overseeing companies that contract with the department to service federal student loans.

“Our country’s investment in affordable higher education provides individuals with the skills they need to participate in the 21st century economy,” the lawmakers wrote. “Unfortunately, the Department’s recent actions to abandon cooperation with the CFPB come during a time when it is also systematically rolling back rules meant to protect student and making numerous questionable personnel decisions.”

The Democrats asked DeVos to provide them with any communications the department has had with CFPB staff about data sharing concerns, any communications the department has had federal education loan servicers and any policy plans the Department has to increase oversight of federal student loan servicers.