Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Vermont lawmakers urge Congress to lift bankruptcy restrictions for distressed college-loan borrowers: Bernie Sanders, here's your cue!

Earlier this week, the Vermont House of Representatives adopted a resolution urging Congress to allow distressed student-loan borrowers to file for bankruptcy without restriction. In effect, the Vermont lawmakers asked Congress to repeal the "undue hardship" provision of the Bankruptcy Code.

The measure had broad support among Vermont legislators.  The resolution was sponsored by more than 70 of  the Vermont House's 150 representatives.

This is an amazing development. Everyone knows the federal student loan program is in crisis and that millions of college-loan borrowers are burdened by massive debt they can't pay back. Congress won't do anything about it because our federal legislators have been bought off by the college industry and the banks. Now we have a state legislative body asking for bankruptcy relief.

Joint House Resolution 27, as the Vermont resolution is titled, is remarkable for its clarity.  As the resolution stated: "27 million borrowers are either in default or some other form of loan repayment delinquency . . . "  Moreover, the Vermont legislators pointed out, plans to reduce interest rates or restructure the student loan program might be helpful to future borrowers, but these proposals do nothing to help people who are suffering right now.

I hope other state legislatures across the United States will follow the lead of the Vermont House of Representatives and call for the elimination of bankruptcy restrictions for desperate college-loan borrowers.  Multiple state-level legislative resolutions would put huge pressure on Congress to quit doing the bidding of the college industry and amend the Bankruptcy Code.

And here is an opening for Bernie Sanders.  If he would endorse Joint House Resolution 27 and call for a reform of the Bankruptcy Code, he would attract even more voters.  At the very least, Bernie's endorsement might force Hillary Clinton to endorse Resolution 27 as well.  So far, her only plan for reforming the federal student loan program is to shovel more money toward the inefficient, corrupt, and venal higher education industry.

Hooray for the state legislators in Vermont.  Bernie, please jump on board. The time for action is now.

Vermont lawmakers urge Congress to lift restrictions on bankruptcy for student-loan borrowers

References

Micahel Bielawski. Vermont House asks Congress to let student-loan borrowers file for bankruptcy. VermongtWatchdog.org, May 3, 2016.  Accessible at http://watchdog.org/264079/legislature-requests-student-debt-relief-bankruptcy/

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