Sending Office: Honorable Suzanne Bonamici
Sent By:

Dear Colleagues,

I write to ask for your support in sending a letter to Secretary DeVos regarding the impact of the Trump Shutdown on student loan borrowers.

As Trump’s government shutdown enters into the third week, 800,000 federal employees remain uncertain about how they’re going to pay their bills and keep up with their student loan payments. For this reason, please join me in urging Secretary DeVos to support
student loan borrowers during this uncertain time.

To sign on, please contact Lakeisha Steele at
. The deadline to sign on to the letter is COB Friday, January 11, 2019.


Suzanne Bonamici           
Member of Congress       

Letter Text:

January XX, 2019



The Honorable Betsy DeVos


United States Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20202


Dear Secretary DeVos:

We write today to express deep concern about the potential negative effect of President Trump’s government shutdown on student loan borrowers.

At present, there are approximately 420,000 federal employees who are working without pay, and about 400,000 federal employees who are experiencing furlough. As a result, many federal employees do not know how they will pay their rent or mortgage, put food
on the table or gas in their car, and pay for childcare. And importantly, many will be unable to make payments on their student loans. It is unacceptable and unreasonable that the Trump Administration expects everyday Americans who are struggling to make ends
meet to bear the burden of this shutdown.

According to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the average take-home pay for federal employees who are AFGE members is $500 a week. The average monthly student loan payment is $393, which means that many furloughed federal employees
and those working without pay will struggle to make their monthly student loan payment. In addition, many federal employees who qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program are likely to experience a temporary break in their qualifying monthly payments
counting toward loan forgiveness. Further, federal employees may be unaware of their repayment options to reduce their monthly payments, including remaining in an income-driven repayment plan based on their changed circumstances and uncertain financial future.

This unnecessary shutdown is creating needless financial hardship for too many families, and it may push borrowers deeper into student debt. I urge the Department of Education to do all it can to direct student loan servicers to proactively reach out to
federal employees to provide information about how to manage their student loan debt during the Trump government shutdown.

These hardworking federal employees want to meet their student loan obligations – even during this shutdown. They deserve the support of the Department of Education and student loan servicers to do so. Thank you for your attention to this matter.




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