Washington. D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02) and Carlos Gimenez (FL-26) introduced the Protecting Job Opportunities for Borrowers (JOBs) Act, legislation that would prevent states from suspending, revoking, or denying state-issued driver’s licenses, teaching licenses, and other professional licenses solely because borrowers are behind on their federal student loan payments. The bipartisan Senate companion was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

“Borrowers need to be able to work to pay back their student loans,” said Rep. Ross. “It is illogical and harmful to revoke professional licenses when borrowers fall behind on student loan payments. Communities suffer when workers—including nurses and teachers—are not allowed to remain in the industries for which they have been trained. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our nation’s shortage of healthcare workers and exacerbated teacher burnout. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that specially trained professionals have the ability to work—regardless of the student debt they carry. I’m proud to introduce the Protecting JOBs Act with my colleague Congressman Gimenez to support this goal.”

Rep. Gimenez said, “We must fervently protect the dignity of work and help Americans fighting every day to make ends meet. Instead of revoking professional licenses of Americans who fall behind on their crushing student debt, we should be helping them find ways to bring their accounts current, not taking away the one tool that can help bring them out of financial hardships. I thank my colleague Congresswoman Deborah Ross for introducing this important legislation to help American workers establish a foundation of financial security.”

Specifically, the Protecting JOBs Act:

  • Prevents states from denying, suspending, or revoking state-issued:
    • driver’s licenses;
    • teaching licenses;
    • professional licenses; or
    • a similar form of licensing to lawful employment in a certain field;
  • Gives states two years to comply; and
  • Provides borrowers with legal recourse for states’ non-compliance, by allowing them to file for prospective injunctive relief if a state violates the terms of the act.

The legislation is endorsed by Access Lex, American Federation of Teachers, American Nurses Association, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Center for Responsible Lending, Generation Progress, Heritage Action, Higher Education Loan Coalition, The Institute for College Access & Success, Institute for Justice, National Association for Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Association of School Nurses, National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCBSN), National Education Association, National Employment Law Project (NELP), Pacific Legal Foundation, R Street, UnidosUS, and Young Invincibles.