This was a vote on an amendment that would have required the U.S. Department of Education to formally outline a plan to protect federal student aid dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) offered the amendment to Republican legislation that would overturn federal standards for colleges and universities that qualify for federal student aid. The standards were set by the Department of Education as a way to ensure schools that are eligible for federal student aid are meeting minimum requirements for the integrity of their programs.
Rep. Polis noted that the regulations overturned by the Republican legislation were aimed at safeguarding the taxpayer dollars invested in federal student aid. To compensate, he argued, Congress should require the Department of Education to outline an alternative plan to protect aid programs from waste, fraud, and abuse.
“The reason we're talking about rules and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse is not somehow the government is going someplace that's unwarranted, but these are federal student loans, these are federal programs we're talking about,” Rep. Polis said. “We do not want taxpayers to be ripped off, and we do not want students to be ripped off. I believe that directing the Secretary (of Education) to come up with an alternative plan to the one we're stripping out would go a long way toward accomplishing that.”
Republicans argued that requiring a new proposal from the Department of Education would accomplish nothing. Rather than try to solve problems, the federal government should simply get out of the way, they argued.
“I don't think … that we need to ask the Department of Education to present more plans or more rules and regulations,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said. “It is certainly doing a lot to present rules and regulations that are totally unnecessary.”
Rep. Polis’ amendment was defeated by a vote of 199-217. Voting “yea” were 178 Democrats and 21 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 214 Republicans and 3 Democrats. As a result, the House voted not to require the Department of Education to develop a plan to combat waste, fraud, and abuse, and moved forward with legislation that would overturn federal standards for colleges and universities that qualify for federal student aid.