“You are the most unpopular person in our government,” Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) told Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday. DeVos appeared before the House Education and Labor committee to defend a student debt policy and Wilson had some strong words for the secretary.
Under the Obama administration the “borrower’s defense” policy was put in place so students who fell victim to fraud from for-profit institutions would receive full financial relief. But under President Donald Trump, DeVos has adjusted the way the policy works. Now victims of fraud are measured by their current income in a sort of subjective no-harm no-foul way of meeting out fairness.
After Wilson gave an example of the harmful effects the new policy had on one person, she told DeVos, “I’ve had some honest disagreements with my friends in the Republican Party on how to move education forward but I have never, not one time, believed they were out to destroy public education until I met you.”
I'm glad that @BetsyDeVosED attended today's hearing on debt relief for defrauded students, but her answers about her refusal to provide that much-needed relief were extremely dissatisfying. pic.twitter.com/9OxcOw5kU0
— Rep Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) December 12, 2019
DeVos says her way of executing the policy would give “fair relief to all borrowers who actually have been harmed.” And others, regardless of the legitimacy of their claims, “would not be entitled to relief if they can’t demonstrate they’ve been financially harmed.”
DeVos claims she is looking out for taxpayers, “if claims are false, or students did not suffer financial harm, then hardworking taxpayers should not pay their student loans for them. It’s a matter of fairness.”
DeVos said in her opening statement, “Students are my number one priority. They are why I come to work every day. So if students have been deceived by institutions and suffered financial harm as a result, they should be made whole.”
Wilson told the secretary that her actions would help unseat Trump come election time. “You are the most unpopular person in our government. Millions will register to vote in 2020 and many will vote to remove you more than to remove the president,” Wilson said.