Senate to vote Wednesday on reversing DeVos student loan rule
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats will force a vote Wednesday in their attempts to reverse a Department of Education rule that they worry will hinder student loan borrowers' ability to seek loan forgiveness from predatory institutions.

Democrats will need to win over only a simple majority in the GOP-controlled chamber because they are forcing the vote under the Congressional Review Act, a law that allows Congress to try to strike down executive regulations.

"We will have an opportunity here to debate and vote on a system that was put in place years ago to protect students from being defrauded by the colleges they attend," said Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Democratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children MORE (D-Ill.).

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Democrats won over 10 Senate Republicans who helped advance the resolution over a procedural hurdle on Tuesday. The House voted earlier this year to block the Department of Education rule.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosCoronavirus bill allows DeVos to waive parts of federal special education law: NYT Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package White House slams pastor leading Cabinet Bible studies for linking homosexuality, coronavirus MORE sparked widespread criticism for her decision to rewrite the Obama-era "borrower defense" rule, which was meant to regulate the for-profit sector and protect students who had been misled by colleges.

But DeVos has opposed the Obama-era rule, arguing that students should have to prove they were financially harmed.

A rule issued by the department would give full relief only to students who earn much less than students in similar programs. Under the new formula, the remaining students would have no more than 75 percent of their loans forgiven.

Some Republicans have backed DeVos, arguing that the way the rule was crafted by the Obama administration makes it open to potential abuse.

"I don't have any doubt about the intent of the law and that the intention is good, but the concept is far too broad ... [and] is ripe for abuse," said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: National shelter-in-place order would be an 'overreaction' Lawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Cuban says he'd spank daughter if she was partying during coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Texas).