House Fails to Overturn Trump Veto of Student Loan Forgiveness

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By Mark Kantrowitz

June 28, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res 76 on June 26, 2020 by a vote of 238-173, but failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required to overturn President Trump’s veto of student loan forgiveness legislation.

Regulations Narrow the Borrower Defense to Repayment

The borrower defense to repayment allows borrowers who were defrauded by their college or university to apply for forgiveness of their federal student loans

The Obama Administration expanded use of the borrower defense to repayment in the aftermath of the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, approving 47,942 applications for loan discharge. The Trump Administration did not process any borrower defense to repayment claims until required to do so by court order. 

The U.S. Department of Education published new regulations concerning the borrower defense to repayment in the Federal Register on September 23, 2019. 

These regulations, which go into effect on July 1, 2020, provide partial loan cancellation for defrauded borrowers instead of full loan forgiveness. The regulations also allow mandatory arbitration agreements and establish a 3-year window during which a borrower must file a borrower defense to repayment claim. 

Blocking the New Regulations

Congress can use the Congressional Review Act to overturn new regulations.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to overturn the regulations on January 16, 2020, by a vote of 231-180. The U.S. Senate passed the resolution on March 11, 2020 by a vote of 53-42.

The President vetoed the resolution on May 29, 2020.

Overriding the veto requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate.

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to obtain a two-thirds majority. All 232 Democrats and six Republicans voted in favor of the resolution, falling short by 36 votes. 172 Republicans and 1 Independent voted against the resolution and 19 Republicans did not vote. 

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