Hoaxes & Rumors

Are Children of Congress Members Exempt From Paying Back Student Loans?

Are Children of Congress Members Exempt From Paying Back Student Loans?

An email chain letter states that children of members of Congress are exempt from paying back student loans. Is this rumor true?

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It’s not true.

First let’s take a look at the chain letter, which has been circulating for a couple of years.

Children of congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans. How nice for them!

Monday on Fox news they learned that the staffers of Congress family members are exempt from having to pay back student loans. This will get national attention if other news networks will broadcast it. When you add this to the below, just where will all of it stop?

35 States file lawsuit against the Federal Government

Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on.

This is an idea that we should address.

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform. in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

You are one of my 20.

According to FactCheck.org, this rumor stems from comments made by Dick Morris on the Sean Hannity show on Fox in 2010. In these comments he claimed that, “…staff in the House of Representatives and in the Senate do not pay student loans back…The government pays it for them.”

As you can see, even the original comment did not mention children of Congress members receiving any sort of exemption to paying back student loans. What Morris was referring to, and his statement is somewhat misleading, is that some full-time House and Senate employees participate in student pay-back plans, some of which help pay for a portion of the loans. In a very few of these cases, a staffer may have the loan paid back in full. These plans were modeled after similar programs that exist for federal employees. Staffers are required to remain on the job for a least a year in order to be eligible to participate in the program and there is a $40,000 maximum lifetime benefit.

There are House and Senate versions as spelled out in the US Code. Take a look at the Student loan repayment program for Senate employees, as spelled out in Title 2 of the US Code:

(b) Senate student loan repayment program
(1) Service agreements
(A) In general
The head of an employing office and an eligible employee may enter into a written service agreement under which –
(i) the employing office shall agree to repay, by direct payments on behalf of the eligible employee, any student loan
indebtedness of the eligible employee that is outstanding at the time the eligible employee and the employing office enter
into the agreement, subject to this section; and
(ii) the eligible employee shall agree to complete the 1-year required period of employment described in subsection
(c)(1) of this section with the employing office in exchange for the student loan payments.

These loan payback programs do not apply to political appointees, nor does it apply to children of those in Congress.

35 Governors Filing Lawsuits

As ominous as this sounds, it’s completely untrue because such a lawsuit would be filed by the State Attorney General, not the Governor. Further, it is also not the Governor’s job to call for a Constitutional Convention. That would be up to each state’s legislature.

28th Amendment

The 28th Amendment as suggested in the chain letter above has been circulated online for years. No such legislation is currently pending. Further, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 for the most part already sealed many of these types of loopholes that Congress used to enjoy.

The fact that this email asks you to forward it to 20 friends relegates this to nothing more than a chain letter with out of context facts and downright fictitious claims.

If you’ve received this chain letter, forward the sender a link to this article in response. Perhaps this will help  stop the mindless chain letter from proliferating further.

  • Garey Martinson

    Our goverment cannot spit the differance on anything.It seems to me after Mitt and Ryan got blown out of the election,the GOP just dont and wont comprimize.All they want is for the welthy in this nation to stay welthy and the hell with the poor and so called middle class.What the president (Oboma) needs to do some how is perpose to the GOP that he feels that the voting people should all be able to vote on questionable referendoms.Knowing they cant work together,maybe it is time for the poor and so called middle class,the ones that pay our pathetic goverments wages>the right to vote for what the people need, not keeping the rich (rich).

    • Stop the madness

      Garey – you need to check some facts about the wealthy and middle class carrying the weight of taxes. The top 10% of earners paid 71% of federal income taxes in 2009 and the top earners are the target for the recent tax increases. The top 10% only earned 43% percent of all income. The ‘welthy’ are already paying more than their fair share, and the federal income tax system is already highly progressive…what’s next if you make over $112,000 (that puts you in the top 10% of all earners) then you should pay more for gas, food, rent?
      Here is a staggering figure – the top 25% (those with adjusted gross income greater than $63,000) paid 87% of all federal income tax, and about half of ALL tax filers paid no federal income tax at all.

      • Ninetyniner

        The top 10% of earners control 80% of the wealth.

        About half of all tax filers pay no federal income tax at all, because they make very little money. That is their tax bracket. It does not somehow magically mean that they are living life ‘high on the hog.’ They are in poverty.

  • Bob Loonan

    Here is some data regarding that


    The typical federal worker is paid 20% more than a private-sector worker in the same occupation. Median annual salary:

    Federal Private Difference

    $66,591 $55,500 $11,091

    Sources: Bureau of Labor statistics, USA TODAY

  • Rick Bausher

    Which of the “Many goverment employees” recieve a pay cut.

  • David Saenz

    Many governments including local and state offer student loan forgiveness programs such as for teachers in low-income areas. The tactic is used to attract talent and recruit teachers in these less-desirable areas. These areas are usually problem school in high crime areas. Who do you think pays for these loans?

    While it may seem unfair, many government employees actually receive a pay cut, as compared, to if he/she worked in the private sector. I see it only fair to offer such an incentive for public service. Considering a government official might lose an election, he/she does not have the luxury of working for 10 years as some teachers are required to get their loans forgiven.

  • debbie

    Yes, in the past, a lot of employers have offered tuition assistance. However, I wonder how many have had to discontinue their programs because they can no longer afford them, which should include the government. Right now, every bit of “discretionary” spending by our government should be stopped. Business all over the country stop discretionary spending when the money is just not there. Lastly I wonder if the government has ever assessed how well the program has benefited the American people. A lot of the money our government spends is wasted.

  • robert

    I am not mad that members of our government have this benefit available to them. Yes the government is funded by our tax dollars but they are still an employer. Many employers offer programs similar to this called tuition reimbursement. This is used to attract and retain top talent. I dont know about you but I would like to see our government employees as educated vs uneducated. I wonder what it would be like if everyone in the government had a ged? We have many other reasoms to be angry at congress besides their staff receiving government benefits. Why not focus on that? Megan mentions 61 million dollars for this program… the government spends more than that in a day. Did you know that the payroll of the white house not including anyone like the president is $38 million dollars per year. Thats gardeners, tour guides, maids, chefs, security, engineers, etc. This does not imclude the secret service or presidential security. So be mad… that is your right but make sure that you fight a battle that is worth fighting and legitimate.

  • Eve

    Please reiterate your statement above. It is confusing.

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