Delaney and Katko File Legislation to Help Americans Struggling with Student Loan Debt

May 5, 2017
Press Release
Legislation would treat student loans as equal to other forms of debt

WASHINGTON – Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) has filed bipartisan legislation to help Americans struggling with excessive student loan debt. Congressman John Katko (NY-24) is the lead Republican cosponsor of the bill. The Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy Act (H.R. 2366) reforms federal bankruptcy rules to establish parity between student loan debt and other forms of debt. Under current law, student loan debt cannot be discharged.  

“Student loan debt is dragging down economic growth and keeping the American Dream out of reach for many. While student loan debt is a complex problem that will require many solutions – increased support for grant programs, efforts to increase affordability, improved consumer education and transparency – we also need to reform our bankruptcy laws to help those with the absolute greatest need. Right now, there is effectively a huge student loan loophole in bankruptcy law that’s hurting real people,” said Congressman Delaney. “Bankruptcy has long been an option of last resort for individuals facing an irresolvable level of debt; bankruptcy isn’t easy or enjoyable, but it’s a necessary part of our financial system. It doesn’t make sense for students with heavy debt burdens to be worse off than someone with credit card debt or mortgage debt. Every member of Congress from every state in the country has constituents who are struggling severely because of student loan debt. At the very least we should have some basic fairness in the law.”

“In this economy, new graduates are faced with many difficulties as they transition out of college and enter the workforce – and student loan debt is at the top of that list.  Addressing the high cost of college and the crushing burden of student loan debt requires innovative and thoughtful changes in policy,” said U.S. Representative John Katko.   “In the case where financially stressed student loan borrowers have no other option but to seek bankruptcy relief, these individuals are unable to discharge their student loan debt.  While this is a last option for many, it should not be the case that student loan debt is the only form of debt that cannot be discharged and the measure that I’ve put forth with Rep. Delaney corrects that problem.  We must continue to explore ways to make borrowing simpler and more manageable for students so that higher education can remain accessible to students from all backgrounds.”

Last year, total U.S. student loan debt reached a record level of $1.3 trillion dollars, the 18th consecutive year with a cumulative increase, according the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.