November 24, 2022
November 23, 2022
Supervisor Yesli Vega, the Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Virginia’s 7th District, criticized President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan and denounced “reckless” government spending in a recent TV ad. Still, Vega and her husband filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 and had more than $96,000 in debt forgiven as part of the process, including more than $46,000 in student loans, court records show.
Vega, 37, and her husband, Rene Vega, were living in Fort Washington, Maryland, when they filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, which was previously undisclosed .
Yesli Vega was in her early 20s and the couple’s two children were 1 year and 3 months old at the time, according to the couple’s bankruptcy filing. A year earlier, in 2008, Rene Vega had lost two Dale City homes to foreclosure, according to Prince William County records.
The property addresses on the bankruptcy petition match Vegas addresses listed in Prince William County property records and publicly available directories.
Vega and his campaign team did not respond to three emails sent over a five-week period seeking comment and context on his bankruptcy filing. The The era of Prince William asked Vega to comment on the reasons that led to his bankruptcy and to explain his views on delinquent loans canceled in bankruptcy proceedings versus Biden’s student loan cancellation plan.
Vega, R-Coles, was elected to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in 2019. She announced her candidacy for the U.S. Congress in late December 2021, shortly after the 7th District’s boundaries were redrawn and released by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
The 7th District seat is currently held by Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat, who is seeking a third term in the Nov. 8 election.
The hotly contested race is important to the GOP’s efforts to take control of the United States House of Representatives. The seat is currently classified as a “skinny Democrat” by the Cook Political Report. But in last year’s gubernatorial race, voters in the new district favored Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin by nearly 5 points. Youngkin received 52% of the vote to Terry McAuliffe’s 47.1%, according to an analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project.
Bankruptcy filing shows student loans, medical bills, tax debts
In Vega’s 30-second ad about government spending, she credits her father, Abel Ventura, an immigrant from El Salvador, with teaching her how to budget. Ventura advises in Spanish: “Save more than you spend”. Vega goes on to accuse Biden, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Spanberger of “pushing up inflation” and “hurting Virginia families” because of their “reckless spending.”
On Facebook, Vega introduced the ad, saying, “Mi papá taught me never to spend more than you earn. It seems like common sense, but Biden, Pelosi and Spanberger have driven up the cost of living with their reckless spending. »
Vega doesn’t give details of what she considers reckless spending and doesn’t give details on her social media. But she says she has a plan “to eliminate wasteful spending and cut taxes” in Congress if elected.
According to the Voluntary Petition for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Vega and her husband filed, the Vegas said they owe creditors a total of $96,662 and have assets of $9,552.
In bankruptcy cases filed after 2005, federal and private student loans are generally not dischargeable unless debtors can prove that the loan repayments impose “undue hardship,” according to federal law.
“One of the main purposes of bankruptcy is to discharge certain debts in order to give an honest individual debtor a ‘fresh start’. The debtor has no liability for discharged debts,” according to the US Courts website.
Among the debts included in the Vegas petition were unpaid state taxes in Maryland in the amount of $1,105 and $1,500 in Virginia, according to the petition.
The debts also included medical bills owed to Potomac Hospital in the amount of $3,661, according to the petition.
The Vegas filings also sought discharge of a $1,280 debt owed to for-profit Corinthian College, which was in collection, and three Sallie Mae student loans opened in 2004 and 2005 for $28,468, $14,765 and $2,359, according to the petition. It is unclear if Yesli Vega or Rene Vega took on the student loans or if they involved schools other than Corinthian College.
In June 2022, the US Department of Education announced that it would repay $5.8 billion in student loans borrowed to attend any campus owned or operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., citing its “widespread and pervasive misrepresentations” concerning the employment prospects of borrowers. The action was the largest single loan release in U.S. history.
Positions of applicants on loan cancellation
Vega has been outspoken in his opposition to the Biden administration’s student loan cancellation plan. Under the plan, most people with federal student debt will be able to apply for up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness and up to $20,000 if they receive a Pell Grant, which is available to college students. low-income undergraduate.
Shortly after the student loan forgiveness plan was rolled out on September 1, Vega tweeted, “Biden’s plan to ‘forgive’ student loans to a select few is nothing but a trick of election campaign financed by you, the taxpayers. It’s unfair to the millions of us who have paid off debt or skipped college to enter the workforce early.
She followed that tweet up with another mentioning her opponent: “Hard-working Virginians shouldn’t have to foot the bill for someone else’s college degree, so Abigail can try to buy your vote.”
Asked by the The era of Prince William Of his views on Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, Spanberger said, “A lot of people are going to be helped in a significant way because of the president’s actions to forgive student loans.”
But Spanberger also noted that the plan “leaves a lot of open questions about college affordability” and said more needs to be done to allow borrowers to renegotiate the terms of their student loans and to allow them to be discharged. in bankruptcy proceedings.
“From a policy perspective, allowing people to renegotiate their student loans has to be a priority,” Spanberger said. “Recognizing the fact that if you go bankrupt, everything [debts] can be forgiven, except that student loans, under regular circumstances, must be reconsidered.
Spanberger also noted that she thinks the federal government’s civil service loan forgiveness program needs to be made more accessible to eligible borrowers. The PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on federal loans after borrowers make 120 “eligible monthly payments” while working full-time for an “eligible employer,” according to the studentaid.gov website.
Eligible employers include government agencies, public school divisions, colleges and universities, and many nonprofit agencies, including private schools and colleges, the website says.