Student Loan Justice
This wall is dedicated to those members of Congress (current and former) who have been instrumental in removing standard consumer protections from student loans. These Congress members have empowered this predatory lending system to grow to nationally threatening proportions. Many continue to fight against student loan borrowers and for the continued absence of the fundamental consumer protections (bankruptcy protections, most notably). SHAME ON THEM ALL.
- Virginia Foxx (R-NC). Foxx has consistently and publicly voiced her opposition to the return of constitutional bankruptcy rights to student loans. As Chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Foxx’s PROSPER ACT would further enrich the Department of Education and its financial partners by making the federal student loan system even more viciously predatory than it already is. She is consistently at or near the top of the list of campaign contributions received from the Sallie Mae PAC. Ironically, Foxx calls herself a conservative, but her work on student loans serves to even further grow the big-government monstrosity that now threatens so many.
- Senator Mike Enzi Senator Enzi Chairman, ranking member, or member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee since he was elected in 1996. During the first ten years of his Senate career, Enzi was among the top recipients of campaign contributions from Sallie Mae, and other student loan related interests. Since Enzi has served on the HELP Committee, student loan debt has risen from about $75 billion in 1996 to over $1.5 Trillion today.
- Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham, as a congressman, is the first known federal official to propose removing bankruptcy rights from private student loans. Grahams argument was that removing bankruptcy protections would allow private banks to loan to more needy students. After bankruptcy was returned, however, this did not happen. Instead, the banks began demanding creditworthy cosigners (with real assets to come after) for more than 90% of their new loans. This was one of the dirtiest tricks every played on students and their families.
- The Blue Dog Democrats In 2008, there was an amendment in the House of Representatives that would have returned bankruptcy rights to private student loans. At the last minute, the Blue Dog Democrats voted as a group to kill this amendment.
- Former Congressman John Boehner. While in Congress, Boehner was consistently at or near the top of the list for campaign contributions from the Sallie Mae PAC and other student loan related interests. Boehner once told student loan lobbyists “I hold you in my trusted hand”. Boehner secured a job for his daughter at a student loan collection company that was soon to become a subsidiary of Sallie Mae over a game of golf.
- Former Congressman Buck McKeon. Like John Boehner, McKeon was a leading recipient of campaign/committee contributions from Sallie Mae and many other lending interests. He was instrumental in keeping bankruptcy rights gone from student loans. In 2008, as congress was poised to return bankruptcy rights to student loans, McKeon successfully convinced the Blue Dog Democrats to kill the legislation.