01.06.22

Burr, Foxx Press Biden Admin for Clarification on Unilateral Changes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Representative Virginia Foxx (NC-5), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, sent a letter again calling on U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to clarify the Department’s statutory basis for reforming the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

In October 2021, the Department of Education claimed it had executive authority to waive existing PSLF Program requirements created by Congress. On October 29, 2021, Senator Burr and Representative Foxx sent a letter to determine the Department’s rationale in its move to unilaterally change existing law and to request a briefing with Under Secretary James Kvaal and General Counsel Lisa Brown. Today’s letter is a follow up to their original oversight request.

“When announcing these changes, the Department claimed a liberal reading of a statute to find the executive authority to move forward,” the letter states. “In light of this overtly political reading of the statute, we requested the production of various documents to understand the Department’s rationale for its decision and the supposed authority to change unilaterally statutory requirements prescribed by Congress.”

“While the briefing with Mr. Kvaal was finally scheduled months after our request, your staff refused to include the General Counsel in that briefing,” the letter continues. “In further proof that Ms. Brown’s absence was detrimental to our oversight effort, when Mr. Kvaal was asked to provide a copy of the legal memorandum from [the Office of the General Counsel], Mr. Kvaal declined to provide a direct answer and asked that we submit this request in writing, despite this request being among the many that remain outstanding from the letter.”

Click here to read the full text of the letter.