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Progressive Consumer Advocate To Head Federal Financial Aid Office

Progressive Consumer Advocate To Head Federal Financial Aid Office
Progressive Consumer Advocate To Head Federal Financial Aid Office



President Joe Biden’s administration has picked Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general and head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to head the office charged with overseeing the federal government’s student loan portfolio of more than $1 trillion.

Cordray, who will start at Federal Student Aid on Tuesday, will be a high-profile leader for an obscure but important agency that could play a central role in the debate over canceling student loan debt. Progressives quickly praised his selection.

“Cordray has a strong track record as a dedicated public servant who can tackle big challenges and get results,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “I am confident that under his leadership, Federal Student Aid will provide the kind of service that our students, families, and schools deserve.”

As the first director of the CFPB, Cordray is considered a top ally of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has led a Democratic charge to push Biden to unilaterally cancel up to $50,000 per person of student debt. Cordray left CFPB in 2017 to run for governor of Ohio, narrowly losing in 2018. His selection is not subject to Senate confirmation.

“Rich Cordray has spent years fighting on behalf of American families,” Warren said in a statement. “I’m very glad he will get to apply his fearlessness and expertise to protecting student loan borrowers and bringing much needed accountability to the federal student loan program.”

While little-known, FSA has significant responsibilities: It oversees the Pell Grant program to help low-income students, holds $1.4 trillion worth of student loan debt held by more than 40 million borrowers, manages an oft-maligned public service loan forgiveness program, and employs a quarter of the Education Department’s workforce. Progressives have long criticized the agency, arguing it fails to protect students from unscrupulous student loan servicers.

Cordray promised to create a new path forward for the agency. In a statement, he said he would work with Congress and the Biden administration to make sure FSA “does exactly what it was intended to do — create more pathways for students to graduate and get ahead, not be burdened by insurmountable debt.”

While running CFPB, Cordray challenged for-profit colleges and sued Navient, one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers, for errors he said heaped billions of dollars of additional debt onto students.

“These unlawful practices have cost student loan borrowers across the country both heartache and money,” Cordray said at the time.

He will immediately become a central figure in the intra-Democratic debate over whether or not Biden should unilaterally forgive student loan debt.

During his run for president, Biden said he supported legislation that would forgive $10,000 worth of debt. But there is little chance of such legislation making it through Congress.

Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) have pushed for Biden to unilaterally cancel the debt, arguing it would stimulate the economy and reduce inequality.

The administration has taken steps toward that position, saying they are reviewing the legality and policy virtues of canceling debt. A provision Warren and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez included in the coronavirus relief package that passed in March would make any relief tax-free, removing one potential roadblock to mass cancellation.

Still, some moderate Democrats have argued mass forgiveness would disproportionately benefit upper-income Americans, who are far more likely to be college-educated. 

It’s unclear where Cordray stands on the debate, but his new position would put him in charge of implementing any debt forgiveness plan Biden pursues.

He’ll also be in charge of handling the ongoing coronavirus-related pause on student loan payments, which Biden extended until the end of September.

Progressives have already pushed for Biden to continue the pause, and Cordray will be in charge of either extending it further or restarting student loan collection. Congress has also ordered the office to redesign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known by its acronym FAFSA.

Cordray replaces Mark Brown, a retired Air Force general who resigned as head of FSA in March amid speculation the Biden administration would fire him. Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s education secretary, had hired Brown in 2019.



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GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert Gets Blistering Reminders After Sycophantic Tweet About Trump

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert Gets Blistering Reminders After Sycophantic Tweet About Trump
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert Gets Blistering Reminders After Sycophantic Tweet About Trump




The conspiracy theory-endorsing Colorado Republican tweeted about the “correct” ex-president.



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Ex-Defense Secretary Delivers Damning Takedown Of GOP Spin On U.S. Capitol Riot

Ex-Defense Secretary Delivers Damning Takedown Of GOP Spin On U.S. Capitol Riot
Ex-Defense Secretary Delivers Damning Takedown Of GOP Spin On U.S. Capitol Riot



Bill Clinton-era Defense Secretary William Cohen on Friday tore into elected Republicans who are desperately trying to spin the narrative on the deadly U.S. Capitol riot.

“Those members who are trying to say, ‘No big deal on Jan. 6,’ they’re trying to perform a frontal lobotomy on the American people, a side effect which is mental dullness,” Cohen, a Republican former senator for Maine, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

GOP lawmakers on Wednesday tried to depict the riot, in which five people died, as “a normal tour visit” involving “peaceful patriots.” That’s despite the existence of thousands of hours of video footage proving the violence incited by ex-President Donald Trump and his enablers was anything but.

“Everyone who watched what took place that day cannot begin to even think this was just a normal day with a bunch of citizens parading through the halls of Congress,” said Cohen, calling it “an assault upon democracy.”

“When you abandon the rule of law … when the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the rule of law, it invites anarchy, and what we saw on Jan. 6 was anarchy,” he added. And for those members now to say, ‘Oh, it’s just a day in the life of members of Congress,’ is absurd, it’s insulting.”

Watch the interview here:





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Kid Reporter Damon Weaver Who Interviewed Obama Is Dead At 23

Kid Reporter Damon Weaver Who Interviewed Obama Is Dead At 23
Kid Reporter Damon Weaver Who Interviewed Obama Is Dead At 23



The student reporter who managed to score a sit-down interview at the age of 11 with then-President Barack Obama in 2009 has died at 23, his family announced.

Damon Weaver won America’s heart when the young journalist fired off several questions for Obama during his 10-minute interview in the White House Diplomatic Room. Weaver asked Obama if he got “bullied a lot.” Obama said he just tries to good job and that “keeps me going.”

Weaver also asked if Obama would be willing to play Miami Heat hoops star Dwayne Wade one-on-one. Obama said he’d be willing, even though Wade is a “little bit better at basketball than I am.”

He thanked the president for “making my dream come true.” Weaver asked Obama to become his “homeboy.”

Weaver, a native of Pahokee, Florida, became the youngest person to interview a sitting president.

Weaver died May 1 of natural causes, his sister Candace Hardy told The Palm Beach Post. He was studying communications at Georgia’s Albany State University to fulfill his dream of becoming a sports journalist, and was looking forward to returning to school in the fall, according to Hardy.

She called her brother’s interview with Obama “life-changing for him,” adding that it was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

She said her brother was an inspiration for other children.

“A lot of people looked up to him,” she told the Post. “With him being so young, he made a way for more students to engage in journalism.”

She described her brother as “just a nice person, genuine, very intelligent.” He was a “ball of light with so much energy. He was always a joy to be around. He left an impact on a lot of people,” Hardy said.

On an earlier trip to Washington, D.C., Weaver also interviewed Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Tucker and LL Cool J.

“I got to interview a lot of famous people, and also I got to be on the red carpet,” he said. “I thought that was cool.”



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Don Lemon Teases ‘End Of An Era’ At CNN But It’s ‘Not What You Think’

Don Lemon Teases ‘End Of An Era’ At CNN But It’s ‘Not What You Think’
Don Lemon Teases ‘End Of An Era’ At CNN But It’s ‘Not What You Think’



Don Lemon teased changes to his role at CNN and promptly sent Twitter users into overdrive.

“I appreciate all the years of ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon’ but changes are coming and I will fill you in,” Lemon concluded his prime-time show on Friday.

With social media rife with speculation about Lemon’s future at the network, he later tweeted a video clarifying his comments. It was “not what you think,” he wrote.

“So, I got back down to my office after the show. Everybody calm down. I didn’t say I was leaving CNN,” the anchor said in the clip.

“I just said it was the end of an era for ‘CNN Tonight With Don Lemon.’ I’m not leaving CNN,” Lemon explained. “So, you will have to tune in Monday at 10 o’clock to see. That’s it. So relax.”

It means the announcement will come during the handover from Chris Cuomo’s earlier “Cuomo Prime Time” show.

“I’m not leaving,” Lemon added, laughing. “I’m not leaving.”

Should a shake-up of the network’s evening schedule be in the works, it would follow last month’s revamp of its daytime shows that saw Brianna Keilar moving from her early afternoon slot to co-host “New Day.”

Watch Lemon’s comments here:





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Joe Biden Cancels Donald Trump’s Planned ‘National Garden of American Heroes’

Joe Biden Cancels Donald Trump’s Planned ‘National Garden of American Heroes’
Joe Biden Cancels Donald Trump’s Planned ‘National Garden of American Heroes’



WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday put the kibosh on his predecessor’s planned “National Garden of American Heroes” and revoked former President Donald Trump’s executive orders aimed at social media companies’ moderation policies and branding American foreign aid.

In an executive order of his own, Biden abolished the Trump-formed task force to create the new monument, which the former president proposed last year.

It was to have featured sculptures of dozens of American historical figures, including presidents, athletes and pop culture icons, envisioned by Trump as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live.”

Trump himself curated the list of who was to be included — Davy Crockett, Billy Graham, Whitney Houston, Harriet Tubman and Antonin Scalia, among others — but no site was selected and the garden was never funded by Congress.

Biden’s order also revoked Trump’s May 2020 order calling for the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media companies for labeling or removing posts or entire accounts in what Trump claimed was a restriction on free speech. That order came before Trump himself was removed from platforms like Twitter and Facebook after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The president also ended Trump’s December 2020 order to brand all U.S. foreign aid with a single “logo that embodies the values and generosity of the American people.”

Also revoked was Trump’s June 2020 order that called for the federal government to “prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law” acts of vandalism and destruction to statues on federal property. That order came in response to the defacement of statues — particularly those honoring the Confederacy — during nationwide protests over racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

Biden also took aim at a Trump proclamation that required immigrants to prove they would be covered by certain health insurance plans within 30 days of entering the U.S. or prove they could cover medical costs.

“My Administration is committed to expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Biden said in revoking that proclamation. “We can achieve that objective, however, without barring the entry of noncitizens who seek to immigrate lawfully to this country but who lack significant financial means or have not purchased health insurance coverage from a restrictive list of qualifying plans.”



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DACA Recipients Were ‘Candid’ With Biden About ‘High Stakes’ Of Immigration Reform

DACA Recipients Were ‘Candid’ With Biden About ‘High Stakes’ Of Immigration Reform
DACA Recipients Were ‘Candid’ With Biden About ‘High Stakes’ Of Immigration Reform



President Joe Biden met with six recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at the White House, where the young people expressed the urgent need for permanent protections for all undocumented immigrants

DACA recipient Maria Praeli said in a statement after the meeting that she was “enormously grateful” that Biden listened to their stories of how their families have “struggled with the broken immigration system.”

“We were able to be candid with the president,” Praeli said of herself and the other DACA recipients, often referred to as “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. as children.

They detailed how “painful” it is to have one’s immigration status “in limbo,” Praeli said, adding that the meeting with Biden “made even clearer the incredibly high stakes of permanently protecting immigrants from deportation.” 

The White House said that the president “reiterated his support for Dreamers” and other “essential” immigrant workers and discussed the need for broader immigration reform. 

Biden has been pushing several immigration bills in Congress: one to provide permanent resident status to Dreamers and others to provide a path to citizenship for farmworkers and other undocumented immigrants.  

However, immigration reform efforts passed by the Democratic-led House face tough odds in the closely divided Senate. 

After former President Donald Trump tried to end the Barack Obama-era DACA program, Dreamers were left unsure of their protections from deportation until the Supreme Court ruled that the program was wrongly ended, reinstating it.

DACA recipients have long been pushing for permanent protections not just for themselves and others brought to the U.S. as children but for all 11 million or so undocumented immigrants living in the country.

“It’s extremely painful to feel so American yet know that my future in this country is not secure,” Praeli, who is a government manager at the immigrant rights group Fwd.us, told MSNBC before the meeting. 





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