Student Loans

Impeachment isn’t the only obstacle to legislative wins for Congress in 2020
‘Investigate and legislate’ playbook may not work for Democrats again

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Wednesday. Democrats have said they can “investigate and legislate,” but that could be harder to pull off this year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

On Dec. 18, the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump. On Dec. 19, the House approved a major rewrite of a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Those two events, just 24 hours apart, marked the culmination of a strategy Democrats have sought to execute since the day they took control of the House last year: investigate and legislate.

“Our view is we are here to make things better for our constituents and stand up for the constitutional oaths that we took,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, a freshman Democrat from New Jersey who ousted a Republican in 2018. “Those things are not in conflict with one another. And by the way, that’s always been true. When Nixon was being impeached, Congress passed a major infrastructure bill. When Clinton was being impeached, the Congress passed major legislation.”

House Democrats push through measure to nullify Trump student loan rule
Democrats get only 6 GOP votes as effort moves to Senate

Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., is the sponsor of the Democratic measure to overturn the Trump administration's revamp of the Obama-era student borrower debt forgiveness rule. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday passed mostly along party lines a measure that would overturn a Trump administration rule rolling back protections for student loan borrowers, but the margin was well short of being veto-proof.

The joint resolution passed 231-180 with six Republicans joining 225 Democrats in favor. It now heads to the Republican-led Senate but must wait until after the presidential impeachment trial.

After months of delay, DeVos touts limited student loan forgiveness plan
House Democrats press Trump's education chief over relief for defrauded students

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in the Capitol in July, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sought to defend her department’s 18-month delay in processing rising numbers of student loan forgiveness claims, saying at a Thursday hearing that officials lacked a proper process to review them.

Roughly 240,000 claims remain outstanding as DeVos has sought to change the department’s process to allow students who have been defrauded by colleges to have their federal student loans canceled.

Where the real battle for votes lies
Juneau County, Wisconsin, is prime Trump country, but conditions seem ripe for Democrats to mitigate their losses there

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin lost Juneau County by 771 votes in 2018 but was reelected to the Senate nonetheless. In presidential elections, however, no candidate since 1960 has won nationwide without winning the bellwether county. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Call it President Donald Trump’s Guadalcanal: Like the tiny island U.S. Marines invaded in World War II to break Japan’s Asia-Pacific chokehold, little Juneau County, Wisconsin, is where Trump needs to halt the Democrats’ advance. 

The struggle for 2020 hearts and minds is more than a referendum on the tweeter-in-chief’s behavior — it’s about the “future of work.” For counties like Juneau and others in battleground states, a thriving middle class means a restored American manufacturing base.

Georgia Democrat dramatizes message on health care — by giving up her own
Nabilah Islam cancels her health insurance to help cover living expenses while she runs for Congress

Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., narrowly won his seat in 2018 but is not running again. One Democrat seeking the nomination to succeed him is going without health insurance to dramatize the burden working families face. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Georgia Democrat in one of the most competitive House districts in the country is canceling her health insurance, a risky move that she says is  financially necessary as she runs for Congress.

Nabilah Islam is one of a handful of Democrats running for the party’s nomination in the open 7th District. Islam is trying to save money, but she’s also making a political point — about who can afford to run for Congress and the necessity of fixing America’s health care system.

Road ahead: Impeachment suspense drowns out government funding debate
There’s a full schedule of open hearings at the House Intelligence Committee

The House Ways and Means Committee hearing room that the Intelligence panel is using for impeachment hearings will again be center stage this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seldom does an imminent deadline to avoid a government shutdown fly under the radar, but that might happen this week with most eyes on impeachment hearings in the House.

Congress will need to pass another continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Thursday, as leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations panels look to finalize subcommittee allocations for the delayed fiscal 2020 bills, in conjunction with top leadership and representatives from the administration.

Kamala Harris discusses campaign struggles with Cosmo
Democratic presidential hopeful also talks women’s issues, climate change and skin care

California Sen. Kamala Harris is latest presidential contender to sit down with Cosmopolitan magazine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s still five women in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and after three men beat them to it, one stopped by the headquarters of the magazine that bills itself the “biggest media brand in the world for young women” for an interview.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, in the latest entry for Cosmopolitan magazine’s “The Candidates Come to Cosmo” series, discussed tough decisions to pare her campaign staff, issues such as climate change, and even her skin care regimen.

Hill staffers worried about expenses turn to student loan benefit
Repayment program helps staffers keep costs down and remain on Hill

Congressional workers say the loan repayment program provides an opportunity for those trying to manage the cost of education while embarking on a Capitol Hill career. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kendra Horn was a recent law school graduate in 2004 when she took a job as press secretary to fellow Oklahoma Democrat Brad Carson. Fourteen years before her own election to the House, she made the move from Oklahoma to Washington and almost immediately felt the pressures of a tight budget.

With a pile of student loans and a low starting salary, she tried to keep her expenses to a minimum. She kept her food costs low, scoping out the cheaper places to eat, and paid for groceries on her credit card. But with all of her budgeting, she wasn’t making enough to make payments on her student loans.

Educating K Street: Colleges and universities seek influence in Congress, executive branch
Schools are in the midst of heated immigration, health care and technology debates

Stu Van Scoyoc is president and CEO of Van Scoyoc Associates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lobbyist Stu Van Scoyoc began working for the University of Alabama system three decades ago, helping the school smooth over a problem the 1986 tax overhaul created for its pension program. It’s still a client.

Lobbying on behalf of colleges and universities has been a mainstay of K Street work for years for firms like Van Scoyoc Associates. And many of the biggest spending university systems maintain their own lobbying outposts in Washington with in-house employees who monitor Capitol Hill and executive branch debates and look for federal funding opportunities, relying often on home-state and alumni connections.

Path to defeat Trump ‘doesn’t flow through the coast,’ Bullock tells teachers group
Despite sagging poll numbers, Montana governor forges ahead with 2020 presidential pitch

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, center, greets Randi Weingarten, left, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Darrell Capwell, before a town hall at the AFT on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Montana governor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock didn’t qualify for the debate stage in September, and he is polling near the bottom of the 20 remaining White House hopefuls.

But at the American Federation of Teachers headquarters in Washington, D.C., Bullock said Thursday he can win back Trump voters from the American heartland while retaining support in traditional liberal strongholds. The self-described populist moderate with executive experience spent time taking questions from the audience focused on education issues.