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

The U.S. Senate voted 53 to 42 on March 11 to pass a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block a final rule related to government forgiveness of certain student loan debt.

42 Democrats, 10 Republicans, and Angus King (I-Maine) voted to pass the resolution while 42 Republicans voted nay. The U.S. House passed a resolution to block the rule on January 16, 2020.

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 2019 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.), who sponsored the Senate version of the resolution, argued that the DOE rule “guts essential protections for student borrowers and taxpayers.”

The CRA resolution has to 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. Since the law’s creation in 1996, Congress has used the CRA to repeal 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time.

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Additional reading:
Final rule
Federal Register
Betsy DeVos
U.S. House passes CRA resolution to block Department of Education student loan rule (2020)

Link to the roll call vote:
Text of the DOE rule: