Hero or Zero?
Welcome to Progress Virginia’s Hero or Zero, a weekly, unapologetically progressive take on this week’s heroes and zeros in Virginia politics. Check out this space every Friday, and Tweet us or post to our Facebook to nominate your own heroes and zeros.
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HERO: Healthcare Voters
Today is the 8th Birthday of the Affordable Care Act! So we’re highlighting healthcare voters. This morning, healthcare voters and constituents of Congressman Scott Taylor and State Senators Frank Wagner and Bill DeSteph joined For Our Families in Virginia Beach. These voters came out to protest the votes of their elected officials—votes to gut the Affordable Care Act and votes against Medicaid expansion.
Together, these voters stood up to remind our elected officials how essential the ACA and Medicaid expansion are, and that they will be held accountable for their votes.
ZERO: Betsy “I Never Had Student Loans” DeVos.
Betsy DeVos is quickly becoming the least favorite person in the nation. This week, she decided that protecting students from shady loan servicers was no longer a priority for any state in the country.
Last week, DeVos presented new Department of Education guidance than would protect federal loan services that use predatory collection practices in violation of state regulations. DeVos’ new guidance says that only federal authorities can oversee such loan collection programs—states do not have the authority to protect their residents from predatory lenders and services.
In Virginia, where the student loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights passed the State Senate unanimously but has not passed the House, there’s little hope for this bill to be revived. DeVos has decided it’s not her job, or the job of the federal government, to protect students from fraudulent and abusive practices.
On Tuesday, Rep. Rosa DeLauro set DeVos straight, calling the guidance a “declaration to pre-empt state regulations on companies that collect student loans.” You can watch Rep. DeLauro setting the record straight here.
Let’s take this moment to remember Besty DeVos went to private schools and never once took out or paid back a student loan.