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Ferguson, Cicilline Introduce Bill to Protect Student Loan Borrowers

Congressmen Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) today introduced the Protecting Job Opportunities for Borrowers Act (Protecting JOBs Act). This legislation would prevent states from suspending, revoking or denying state professional, teaching or driver’s licenses solely because borrowers fall into a delinquent or default status on their federal student loan payments.

There are currently 19 states, including Georgia, that have laws on the books allowing state entities to take adverse action against an individual’s professional license. A November 2017 New York Times report found that there have been at least 8,700 cases of at-risk or revoked professional licenses for student loan default. These professional licenses can include licenses for teachers, nurses, fire fighters and cosmetologists.

“It is completely contradictory to think that revoking someone’s professional license will help them pay down their student loan debt when, in fact, it often blocks them from working entirely,” said Ferguson. “This makes it impossible for an individual to make any progress on their student loan repayment and puts them deeper in debt. With $1.5 trillion dollars of student loan debt in this country, the Protecting JOBS Act guards against ineffective policies, so we can keep student loan borrowers in their jobs and continuing to make sustained progress towards paying down their debt. I am proud to work with this bipartisan group of lawmakers to highlight this issue and continue giving American workers the opportunity to take advantage of our booming economy.”

"Working Americans are struggling to get ahead. Wages are flat, and on a fundamental level, people know that the economy is not working for them,” said Cicilline. “Some states have further stacked the deck against working people by taking away their professional license due to unpaid student loan debt. This must end. I am proud to join my colleagues—Representative Ferguson and Senators Rubio and Warren—to introduce this legislation to help workers pay off their debt and make ends meet by ending this harmful practice.”

The Protecting JOBs Act is a companion bill to the Senate version introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).


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