E-Trade Enlists Lobbying Support in Student Loan Salvo

E-Trade Enlists Lobbying Support in Student Loan Salvo

Invariant, the D.C. government affairs shop headed by lobbying powerhouse and Democratic insider Heather Podesta, has inked a pact with trading platform E*Trade to pitch support for a bill currently working its way through Congress that would offer incentives to businesses that help their employees pay back their student loan debt.

E-Trade Enlists Lobbying Support in Student Loan Salvo

Invariant will advocate on Capitol Hill for the passage of H.R. 1043 / S. 460, otherwise known as the “Employer Participation in Repayment Act.” That bill would allow businesses to make tax-free contributions to employees’ student loan payments, thereby potentially easing the escalating student debt crisis, which currently stands at $1.59 trillion across 44.7 million borrowers.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner (VA) and Republican Senator John Thune (SD) are the bill’s lead sponsors. A version was introduced last year in the House by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA).

Even Ivanka Trump threw her support behind the bill last year, claiming in a press statement that she believes it would “have a transformative effect on students entering the workforce.”

Currently, only about eight percent of U.S.-based companies offer student loan repayment contributions, according to a 2019 analysis by the Society for Human Resource Management.

E*Trade in December acquired student loan provider Gradifi for $30 million, thereby adding student loan debt solutions—including employer-sponsored tools—to the financial services company’s suite of products.

A two-person team manages the account: Carolyn Coda, who was a special assistant at the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush; and Mary Stanton, previously a legislative assistant to former Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

Invariant was founded by CEO Heather Podesta in 2007. It rebranded from its former moniker, Heather Podesta + Partners, three years ago in an effort to project a more bipartisan approach.

The firm’s clients include Apple, American Beverage Association, Yelp, Dish Network and Toyota.

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