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 DeVosToday’s education system is perfectly designed for no one DeVos blames Trump transition team for shaky confirmation hearings Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots 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 BrownTrump tells Senate Dems that 'rich people get hurt' in GOP tax plan Senate panel approves North Korea banking sanctions Trump names Powell as chairman of Federal Reserve MORE (Ohio) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayA bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Overnight Health Care: ObamaCare sign-ups surge in early days Collins, Manchin to serve as No Labels co-chairs MORE (Wash.) along with Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rep. Bobby ScottBobby ScottOvernight Regulation: House passes bill to overturn joint-employer rule | Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid | Lawmakers 'alarmed' by EPA's science board changes House passes bill to overturn controversial joint-employer ruling Bipartisan duo offer criminal justice reform legislation 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.