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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of attorneys general from 51 states, territories and the District of Columbia sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Friday, calling on her to automatically cancel disabled veterans' student debts.

Details: Disabled veterans' student loans are required by law to be discharged when requested. The provisions aren't automatic and "may prove insurmountable obstacles to relief for many eligible veterans due to the severe nature of their disabilities," according to the letter, signed by all state attorneys general except those from Alabama, Arizona and Texas.

The big picture: A Freedom of Information Act request filed by advocacy group Veterans Education Success shows more than 42,000 veterans are eligible for Total Permanent Disability status. Fewer than 9,000 people had applied by the start of May 2018 and more than 25,000 eligible veterans were in default, per USA Today.

The other side: The Education Department said in a statement to Reuters: "While 'automatic discharge' may seem like a simple solution, there are long-term impacts we want all veterans to have the chance to consider before their loans are discharged."

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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