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Will Trump Let Congress Undo DeVos's Borrower-Defense Rule?

May 29, 2020

As a Saturday deadline looms, some unanticipated drama is developing over whether President Trump might allow a measure approved by Congress to prevent U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s controversial borrower-defense rule from taking effect.

Trump had been expected to veto a resolution of disapproval passed by the House and Senate earlier this year, which would undo the rule that would make it harder for students who have been defrauded by colleges to have their student debt forgiven. In February, the White House issued a statement saying that it opposes the resolution and, if passed, Trump’s advisers would recommend a veto.

However, Trump has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to veto measures after they are sent to him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the resolution under the Congressional Review Act to the White House on May 19, meaning Trump has until the end of Saturday to veto the measure -- if he is going to.

Trump hasn’t taken action, and the White House has not responded when asked if he intends to, increasing the hopes of the rule’s critics, like Carrie Wofford, president of the advocacy group Veterans Education Success. The group is among dozens of veterans' organizations urging Trump to let Congress block the rule.

Should Trump veto the measure, it’s unlikely the Republican Senate would override it and the tougher standards would go into effect for student loan borrowers beginning July 1. But supporters and opponents of the rule said that if Trump does not act at all before Sunday, Congress’s resolution would take effect. Borrowers who take out student loans on or after July 1 would still be subject to the current rules passed under the Obama administration.

"If the president doesn't either sign or veto the resolution, then it would become law," Wofford said.

Steve ​Gunderson, president and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, which represents for-profit institutions and backs DeVos’s rule, said he believes Trump will still veto the resolution.

But he agreed, “It is also our understanding that if nothing happens, the act becomes law. So, the president needs to veto it in order to prevent the resolution of disapproval from taking effect.”

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Kery Murakami

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