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 DeVosClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump DeVos says Trump 'could talk about education more' Republicans to hand out 'baseball cards' mocking Gary Peters in Michigan 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 BrownBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system MORE (Ohio) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (Wash.) along with Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottNYC teacher suing DeVos over student loan forgiveness program House panel delays vote on surprise medical bills legislation Ten notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment 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.