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Democratic state attorneys general fire back at student loan rework by Republicans

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U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been reworking student lending since her appointment in February, raising concerns among Democrats that she will undo former President Barack Obama’s overhaul of college financial aid.

On Monday, 21 state attorneys general, all Democrats, wrote to Republican DeVos decrying her decision to end the Education Department’s work on reforming loan servicing, steps intended to ensure that borrowers understand their outstanding debt and repayment options.

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“We should be looking for ways to ease the burden of student debt, not enabling the student loan servicing industry to manipulate and exploit students,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

Under Democrat Obama, much of the $1.3 trillion business of student lending was moved from banks and other companies to the federal government. Four companies still handle servicing the loans. Last year the department began working on restrictions as well as incentives to ensure those servicers follow the law.

In March, the Consumer Federation of America reported that $137 billion in student loans were in default.

In an April 11 memo announcing she was stopping reform efforts, DeVos, appointed by President Donald Trump, wrote the process had been riddled with “moving deadlines, changing requirements and a lack of consistent objectives.”

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“We now find ourselves in a situation where we must promptly address not only these shortcomings but also any other issues that may impede our ability to ensure borrowers do not experience deficiencies in service,” DeVos wrote, according to a version published on the department website.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter from the attorneys general.

The head of the Democratic National Committee, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, said DeVos’ decision was intended to boost the profits of big corporations and counteract Obama’s reforms.

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Republicans say the U.S. government should get out of the business of making student loans.

In January, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued the largest loan servicer, Navient Corp, over allegations it cheated borrowers by deceiving them about repayment options and their rights.

Illinois and Washington also sued the company, which was spun off of Sallie Mae in 2014.

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Navient said the bureau, created under Obama to protect people from fraud, sued because it would not settle a CFPB investigation right before Trump took office. The U.S. Department of Justice sanctioned Navient in 2014 for giving military members wrong information about their loans.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; editing by Grant McCool)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump lies to the press about his massive tax increasing while departing to France for the G7 Summit

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President Donald Trump was caught repeating inaccurate claims when he spoke to reporters before boarding Marine One for his trip to France for the G7 Summit.

"I think our tariffs are very good for us. We're taking in tens of billions of dollars, China is paying for it," Trump argued.

In reality, China is not paying for the tariffs, which are paid by American importers and passed on to consumers, making the announcement a massive tax increase on Americans.

"Our tariffs are working out very well for us, people don't understand that yet," Trump argued.

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Bill Maher presents ’25 things you don’t know about Stephen Miller’ on Real Time

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The host of HBO's "Real Time" presented "25 things you don’t know about Stephen Miller" on Friday.

"In high school, I was voted 'Most Likely to Comb My Mummified Mother's Hair,'" was one item.

"I think tacos are stealing jobs from hamburgers," was another.

"I'm a Cancer. I don't know my astrological sign," was a third.

"The worst part about my car smelling like wet dogs, is that I don't own dogs," was a fourth.

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Bill Maher dances on David Koch’s grave: ‘I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful’

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HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher celebrated the death of right-wing billionaire David Koch, who died of prostate cancer.

"I guess I'm going to have to reevaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer," Maher said.

"Condolences poured in from all the politicians he owned and mourners are being asked, in lieu of flowers, to just leave their car engine running," he said.

"I know these seem like harsh words and harsh jokes, and I'm sure I will be condemned for them on Fox News, which will portray Mr. Koch as a principled libertarian who believed in the free market," Maher said. "He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers -- for decades."

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