Education News

Trump picks a side: DeVos over military veterans and other low-income students

By Mary Ellen Flannery / Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS

After more than 1,200 days in office, President Donald Trump issued his first presidential veto of domestic legislation last week.  

The legislation that provoked his unique ire? A bipartisan resolution, passed by the House and Senate this spring, that would have helped low-income Americans, including many military veterans, to restart their lives after being defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges.  

With his rare veto, Trump opted to stand with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and against three dozen veterans’ groups that had urged him to support their access to student loan forgiveness. 

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had sent Trump the bipartisan resolution to sign, called his veto “an act of staggering cruelty.” 

The bipartisan resolution that Trump vetoed was Congress’ effort to stop DeVos’ September 2019 revision of the federal Borrower Defense of Repayment rule. This 30-year-old federal rule enables students who have been defrauded by for-profit colleges to get relief from the federal government in the form of student loan cancellation or forgiveness.  

Because of their access to G.I. Bill benefits, which they gain through service to their country, many of the defrauded students are military veterans, who unfortunately have been seen as cash cows by predatory, for-profit colleges.  

 “President Trump’s veto of my bipartisan bill to help our veterans was a victory for Education Secretary DeVos and the fraud merchants at the for-profit colleges,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), who sponsored the resolution in the Senate. “My question to the president: In four days, did you forget those flag-waving Memorial Day speeches as you vetoed a bill the veterans were begging for?” 

The resolution was first passed by the House of Representatives in January by a vote of 231 to 180, and then in March, by the Senate with the support of 10 Republican senators. 

Currently more than 300,000 students have filed borrower-defense claims with the Department of Education, but federal officials have been slow to process those claims, in some cases making students wait for years. In October, DeVos was held in contempt of court for violating a 2018 court order to stop collecting on the debts of students who went to Corinthian Collegesa massive for-profit college that abruptly shut its doors in 2015. In some cases, DeVos has gone so far as to garnish the wages of those students. 

With these students in mind, NEA has strongly supported the original protections, and gone on record many times in fierce opposition to DeVos’ revisions. “Rather than safeguarding students, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is choosing to…protect unscrupulous colleges,” wrote Marc Egan, director of NEA government relations, in a February letter to senators. 

Egan further explained, “The DeVos rule is especially cruel considering that those who are most vulnerable to targeting by these predatory institutions include veterans, older students, students of color, disabled students, and students who are the first in their families to attend college.”  

Now, education advocates are urging Congress to overturn the Trump veto. The administration’s regulation wields legalese and bureaucracy to trap harmed borrowers in a process they have no hope of successfully completing to get their loans canceled, sending a clear message that colleges’ bad behavior will go unpunished,” said Ben Miller, a Center for American Progress vice president, in a statement. “Congress should see this bipartisan effort through and override President Trump’s veto, especially during a pandemic when so many people are suffering.” 

But Pelosi predicted it would be difficult to get the votes to overturn Trump’s veto. “The House and Senate, on a bipartisan basis, firmly stood with our students and veterans to reject the administration’s cruel and dangerous decision,” Pelosi told the New York Times. “It is sad that the president rejected the will of the Congress and the country with his veto.” 

15 responses to “Trump picks a side: DeVos over military veterans and other low-income students

  1. Horse crap!! this is written by the NEA & they have a huge bias.political & otherwise.. will twist anything/anyway they can if they think it is to their benefit… Think otherwise?? Look at the garbage they have coming out of so called education/schools the push for various reforms that benefit them & no one else [ self-serving & power & $$ grubbing] ….. look at common core..look at how they have allowed history to be destroyed & rewritten to their specifications… think people… look at facts not slanted articles meant only to push a narrative ….

    1. This was written by the associated press, not NEA. It is just posted on their website. Also, have you found any other information or do you just choose to be against it based on where it was published? We all need to work a little harder on actually understanding the facts whether than just agreeing or disagreeing based on who says something

    2. Sorry that you don’t understand something that you feel passionate to post about. That must be embarrassing.

    3. LOL what about common core. Common core is a proven menthod to prepare our kids for college. The numbers of kids passing entrance exams is proof enough. Now go ahead spew so more BS you have read on facebook memes or from Fox News

  2. There is no easy solution here, and I am sure Pres. Trump will not hastily approve a change of legislation without clearly knowing the effect it will have, longterm. I am sure he would love to eliminate this debt that was fraudulently acquired. Quite frankly, however, I would say he has far bigger fish to fry at this time.
    And who is to say that there isn’t other, unrelated garbage attached to this proposal? That is, after all, how so many bull-shit laws get pushed through!

    1. Your last sentence rings a familiar bell for me. I can’t remember a one issue bill..most have a lot of personal stuff by members of congress included. Full disclosure is necessary.

    1. Trying to use Pelosi as your excuse to screw over veterans is crap. We get it. You don’t care about them. Your hatred for Pelosi is greater than your respect for veterans.

      1. I completely agree! Those poor people (many veterans) deserve so much better. DeVos and Trump are both creeps, interested only in their pocketbooks and those of their friends. Being opposed to this Bipartisan resolution has very little to do with Nancy Pelosi. She is the person chosen by the House to speak for them, to express their beliefs. She is not expressing only her own views, but theirs. Hating something because Pelosi’s name is attached to it is ridiculous. Look beyond her name.

      2. haha. Veterans groups asked for it. Both parties voted for it. Your crooked savior vetoed it. And now you must make, yet another, lame excuse for Trump. Sorry that it’s a full-time job.

      3. There has to be more— to it…You..we….dont know all th “facts” PONTUS would NOT sell out th vets…not that stupid…reserve your opinion until you learn what is really going on…unless your blue then you could care less about truth…

  3. If it is only a joint resolution and not a proposed statute, why does the president play any role in signing or vetoing it?

  4. He and his secretary have made America a worldwide joke because of their autocratic approach to governing. They, I believe, falsely represent the elite societal attitudes of wealthy Americans. They DO represent the MINORITY of Americans who personify a hypocritical and apostate religious fringe of corrupt officials bent on reducing America to an Autocratic society.

  5. Again America is thrown under the school bus by the one who does not fulfill the office elected to. Someone needs to tell him that recess is over, and it’s time to put the toys away. Come November, America will be made strong when a new administration is voted in.

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