Donald Trump Vetoes Bipartisan Bill That Would Have Eased Rules On Student Loan Forgiveness

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order at the White House on the “National Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End Veteran Suicide” March 5, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

President Donald Trump vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have overturned newly-issued regulations that restrict access to student loan forgiveness. It’s the first domestic veto that Trump has issued and it places him on the side of his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

As Politico reports, the veto enables DeVos to impost controversial rules that make it hard for student borrowers to prove that they were defrauded by for-profit colleges in order to have their loans forgiven.

Former President Barack Obama’s administration established the guidelines in order to provide relief for veterans and other students who were deceived by colleges.

But under the new rules set by the Department of Education, even those who can prove that they were defrauded won’t have their loans forgiven unless they can prove that their income has been impacted by the fraud. The move was decried by veteran groups who lobbied for the bipartisan bill, saying that service members were frequently the target of fraudulent education schemes because they have GI benefits.

DeVos has been a controversial figure as head of the department, and this particular rule has been a focus bipartisan criticism.

The groups urged Trump not to veto the bill because it would make it too difficult to obtain relief from unscrupulous colleges.

Up to this point, Trump has only vetoed just eight bills, and this is the first one related to domestic, rather than foreign, policy.

In a statement on the veto, Trump defended his decision, saying that it would enable DeVos to protect students.

“The Department of Education’s rule strikes a better balance, protecting students’ rights to recover from schools that defraud them while foreclosing frivolous lawsuits that undermine higher education and expose taxpayers to needless loss,” Trump’s statement reads.

“Many Historically Black College and University (HBCU) leaders believe that the Obama-era rule that H.J. Res. 76 sought to reinstate would have irreparably harmed their great institutions. As President, I have been strongly committed to fighting for HBCUs,” he added.

“As I have said before, HBCUs have never had a better champion in the White House. My disapproval of this resolution is another marker of that support.”

He went on to urge Congress to not overturn his veto.

The Trump administration has made student loans a focus in recent months, and recently, Congress authorized a hold on student loans to help relieve the financial burden on students impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. However, veteran groups say that they are saddened by the president’s decision on student loan forgiveness and vowed to work with Congress to overturn the rule.