House Fails to Override Trump Veto of Student Loan Bill

WASHINGTON (CN) — The House of Representatives failed Friday to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a bipartisan resolution that blocked a controversial Education Department debt relief policy for students who claimed they were the victims of fraud.

Though the measure received 238 votes in favor of override on Friday afternoon, it fell short of the two-thirds majority requirement.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a House Appropriations subcommittee meeting in March 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Updated by the Obama administration in 2015, the borrower defense to repayment rule provides for debt relief to students who show they were defrauded by their colleges. Education Secretary Betsy Devos issued a new rule last year making it harder for students who claimed they were defrauded to receive debt relief.

In January, the House voted to block DeVos’ new rule, which is set to take effect July 1, and the Republican-controlled Senate followed suit in March. Despite the bipartisan rebuke, neither chamber had a strong enough majority to override Trump’s inevitable veto, making Friday’s vote all but a foregone conclusion.

House Democrats pushing the attempt to override the veto said it is the last chance Congress will have to do away with a rule that is harmful to students who did not get what they were promised out of their pricy educations.   

“Unfortunately, instead of using the department’s authority to make borrowers whole and give students a second chance at quality education, it has gone out of its way to prevent victims of fraud from getting relief,” Representative Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat who chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, said on the House floor Friday.

North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx, the top Republican on the Education and Labor Committee, said the Obama-era rule threatened the existence of smaller schools that do not have deep endowments or steady income.

“The Obama regulation created more chaos than clarity and the Trump administration recognized immediately the need to right these wrongs,” Foxx said on the House floor.

In its veto message from January, the White House said the Obama-era rule allowed the federal government too much room to undertake “politically motivated regulatory actions,” running some schools out of business.

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