From: The Honorable Suzanne Bonamici
Sent By:
Adrian.Anderson@mail.house.gov

Date: 2/22/2017

DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2017

Dear Colleague:

Please consider joining us in sending the following letter to the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education. The letter asks the departments to implement their recently announced Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on student loan repayment
without delay.

Last month, the departments released an MOU outlining a plan for using student loan borrowers’ tax data to automatically recertify their family size and income information. You can read about the MOU here:

https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/treasury-and-education-announce-progress-toward-multi-year-income-certification-system-student-loan-borrowers-income-driven-repayment-plans
.

Student loan borrowers who are enrolled in income-driven repayment plans must submit updated income information each year; however, data suggest that more than half of borrowers do not update their information by their annual deadline. Failing to recertify
on time can lead to a sudden increase in payment amounts and financial hardship. For some borrowers, missing the recertification deadline can place them on the road to default.

We and other bipartisan members of Congress asked the departments to develop a system to receive consent from borrowers to use their tax data to complete the annual recertification process automatically—eliminating the paperwork burden on borrowers and keeping
their student loan payments affordable.

We are pleased that the departments have taken the first step toward simplifying repayment for borrowers in income-driven repayment plans. Now we want to encourage the Administration to advance this effort as quickly as possible and bring relief to millions
of people who are struggling to manage their student debt.

To sign the letter, or to request more information, please contact Adrian Anderson (Adrian.Anderson@mail.house.gov) in Congresswoman Bonamici’s office or Katherine Loughead (Katherine.Loughead@mail.house.gov)
in Congressman Costello’s office.

Sincerely,

 

Suzanne Bonamici                                                         Ryan Costello

Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress

 

Peter Welch                                                                 Patrick Meehan

Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress

 

Jared Huffman                                                              Carlos Curbelo

Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress

 

Seth Moulton                                                                Elise M. Stefanik

Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress

 

March 2, 2017

 

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin

Secretary

United States Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20220

 

The Honorable Betsy DeVos

Secretary

United States Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20202

 

Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary DeVos:

We commend the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education (the Departments) for reaching an agreement to simplify participation in income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. We respectfully ask that you implement this agreement as expeditiously
as possible.

The Departments’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining a multi-year consent system that uses tax data to automatically recertify student loan borrowers’ income information will help millions of borrowers access affordable payments and avoid delinquencies
and defaults. In 2015, bipartisan Members of Congress urged the Departments to use borrowers’ tax data to automatically recertify their income information each year. We are pleased that the Departments have taken the first step toward developing such a system.

Student loan borrowers who are enrolled in IDR plans must submit updated family size and income information each year. If borrowers do not provide the documentation by their annual deadline, their monthly payments can increase sharply. These payment spikes
may force borrowers to place their loans in forbearance, where their progress toward repayment and forgiveness is halted. Additionally, interest on their loans is capitalized, which may increase total costs by thousands of dollars. A 2015 survey of borrowers
found that 57 percent did not recertify their income information on time.

Failure to meet annual recertification deadlines can increase the risk of default and lead to long-term financial hardship for borrowers. Today, more than 8 million borrowers are in default. Many more are behind on their payments. These people—roughly one
quarter of student loan borrowers—face serious long-term consequences. Borrowers in default can lose access to federal student aid, see their Social Security benefits and tax refunds withheld, and have their wages garnished. Additionally, credit reporting
agencies register defaults, which may affect borrowers’ access to financing in the future for a car, a business, or a home.

With a multi-year consent system in place, more borrowers will be able to avoid these negative outcomes. As we continue working in Congress to further simplify the enrollment and recertification processes for IDR plans, which help student loan borrowers
who are struggling to manage their payments, we encourage you to advance a multi-year consent system without delay, and in a manner that eliminates unnecessary complexity for borrowers. We respectfully request an update on the Departments’ progress toward
implementing the MOU.

We appreciate your attention to our request, and we look forward to working with you to make sure millions of student loan borrowers have easy access to the affordable repayment options that can protect them from financial turmoil.

Sincerely,