U.S. House passes CRA resolution to block Department of Education student loan rule

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231 to 180 on January 16 to pass a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block a final rule related to government forgiveness of certain student loan debt. Two hundred and twenty-five Democrats and six Republicans voted to pass the resolution while 179 Republicans and Justin Amash (I-Mich.) voted nay.

The Department of Education (DOE) issued the 146-page rule in September 2019. The rule changed the process students must follow to discharge their loans and empowered the agency to collect money from schools to cover financial losses following successful student challenges. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos argued in a December press release that the new rule “ensures that taxpayers who did not go to college or who faithfully paid off their student loans do not shoulder student loan costs for those who didn’t suffer harm.”

U.S. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) argued after the U.S. House passed the CRA resolution that the DOE rule “guts essential protections for student borrowers and taxpayers.” He sponsored an identical CRA resolution in the U.S. Senate in September 2019. That resolution has attracted 40 Democratic cosponsors and the two Independent U.S. senators.

The CRA resolution must pass both houses of Congress and receive President Trump’s signature to repeal the rule.

The CRA gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Congress has used the CRA to repeal 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register since the law’s creation in 1996.

To learn more about the Congressional Review Act and its use, click here.

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Additional reading:
Final rule
Federal Register
Betsy DeVos
U.S. Department of Education

Click here to see the roll call vote.

Click here to see the text of the DOE rule.