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 DeVosHillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats 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 BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (Ohio) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTrump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban Democrats demand information from White House about fetal tissue research ban MORE (Wash.) along with Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottAnyone for tennis? Washington Kastles Charity Classic returns this week Liberal Democrats warn: We'll sink minimum wage bill if moderates change it A minimum wage is exactly what our economy needs 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.