Sending Office: Honorable Donna E. Shalala
Sent By:
Harry.Summers@mail.house.gov

        Request for Cosponsor(s)

H.R. 3689 – “Protecting JOBs Act” Protecting Job Opportunities for Borrowers Act

Co-Sponsors – Shalala, Walker, Wild, Fitzpatrick, Raskin, Thompson (MS)

Problem: As college graduates continue to struggle with debt from federal student loans, some have been disproportionately harmed by outdated state laws that allow states to deny, suspend, or revoke a borrower’s professional license as a
penalty for default. The federal government assumes the risk for losses incurred from federal student loans, including when borrowers default, and the American taxpayers are on the hook when borrowers are suddenly no longer able to work because their professional
licenses are revoked or suspended.

It is important to ensure that our graduates have the ability to repay their student loans and that they are not prohibited from working as a trained professional because of debt. This outdated and misguided tactic to revoke professional licenses can make
it even more difficult for borrowers to repay their loans, creating a modern-day debtors’ prison and a “catch-22.” Without their license, they are unable to work to pay their
loans.

What the bill does: Beginning two years after enactment, this legislation would prevent states from suspending, revoking or denying state professional licenses solely because borrowers are behind on their federal student loan payments. The
bill achieves this goal by using the same statutory structure that requires certain members of the Armed Forces receive in-state tuition as a condition of the states’ colleges and universities receiving certain federal funds under the Higher Education Act.

  • Prevents states from denying, suspending, or revoking state issued: 
    • driver’s licenses;
    • teaching licenses;
    • professional licenses; or
    • a similar form of licensing to lawful employment in a certain field.
  • Gives states two years to comply.
  • Provides borrowers with legal recourse for non-compliance, by allowing them to file for prospective injunctive relief if a state violates the terms of the act.

What the bill does not do: This bill would not change the federal government’s existing methods of student loan collection. This bill only addresses states’ denial, suspension, and revocation of licenses solely because of federal student
loans. It does not prevent a state from denying, suspending, or revoking a state-issued license for other reasons.

Senators Rubio and Warren have already introduced the Senate version of the bill.

Supporting groups:

Access Lex, American Federation of Teachers, American Nurses Association, American Optometric Association, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Reports (formerly the Consumers Union), Federation of American
Hospitals, Foundation for Government Accountability, Generation Progress, Heritage Action, Higher Education Loan Coalition, the Institute for College Access & Success, Institute for Justice, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, National Association
of School Nurses, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Education Association, National Employment Law Project, Opportunity Solutions Project, Pacific Legal Foundation, Public
Higher Education Network of Massachusetts, R Street Institute, Student Debt Crisis, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UnidosUS, United Negro College Fund, Young Invincibles. 

Please contact Carla McGarvey (carla.mcgarvey@mail.house.gov) or Christofer Horta (christofer.horta@mail.house.gov) with Rep. Donna Shalala
or Sruthi Prabhu (Sruthi.prabhu@mail.house.gov) with Rep. Mark Walker.

Sincerely,

Donna E. Shalala                            Mark Walker
Member of Congress                      Member of Congress 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Consumer Affairs, Education, HealthCare

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