Consumer Bankruptcy Journal Spring 2015 - Page 15

NACBA Goes to Washington, DC (mthompson@hastingsgroup.com) or to her colleague, Julie Seger (jseger@ hastingsgroup.com). All of us greatly appreciated finding that Senator Warren has not lost her enthusiasm for standing up for families in financial trouble, and that she will continue to speak out forcefully on issues near and dear to us as bankruptcy practitioners. provision. We also urged them to develop policies that would enable debtors to continue with repayment plans during the pendency of Chapter 13 plans. At the CFPB we discussed the need for aggressive oversight and enforcement against predatory actors in the bankruptcy, debt settlement and collection areas. Other important Congressional meetings included those with newlyelected Senator Gary Peters (MI), our longtime friend and advocate for consumer debtors’ rights Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA), Rep. Dan Kildee (MI), and staff of Chief House Deputy Whip Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC) , and Rep. John Delaney (MD), who recently introduced legislation (H.R. 449) broadly restoring the student loan discharge. Other meetings were conducted with the key Judiciary Committee staff for Senators Chuck Grassley (IA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Dick Durbin (IL) and Al Franken (MN), and staff for House Judiciary Committee members Tom Marino (PA), John Conyers (MI) and Hank Johnson (GA). Many thanks to NACBA colleagues who joined me in DC for these meetings President Ed Boltz, Vice President Jim Haller, Board Member John Rao, Past Presidents Norma Hammes, Matt Mason and Henry Sommer, and Executive Director Dan LaBert. NACBA will kick off the second annual “Hill Day at Home” program at the end of March. This is a chance to add your voice to these efforts in your own District. We know that achieving our goals will not come easily or quickly, but you can play an important role in educating members of Congress, their staffs, other policy makers and those in our own communities of the urgent need to address the student loan debt problem, andthat bankruptcy relief must be one part of the solution. I urge you to be the effective advocate for your clients that you are and sign up today to participate in Hill Day at Home by clicking here. Elsewhere, we had a valuable meeting to discuss the student loan debt problem with the Deputy Secretary of Treasury in charge of domestic finance policy and approximately a dozen of her policy aides. This meeting gave us an opportunity to share the experiences of bankruptcy debtors unable to discharge student loans, and gave them the chance to ask us questions to better their understanding of both the details and the scope of the problem. Separate meetings were held with senior staff at the Department of Education, as well as with the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (“CFPB”). At the Dept. of Ed. meeting, we pressed those present to direct their servicers to cease scorched earth litigation strategies designed to prevent virtually every debtor from receiving a discharge under the “undue hardship” National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Jim Haller (IL) dons a hard hat for serious financial discussion. Spring 2015 CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY JOURNAL 15