Press Release
October 7, 2016
Media Contact
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
(608) 444-3483
Cody Oliphant

In Latest Interview, Sen. Ron Johnson Confirms He is Still the Worst on Student Loan Debt Crisis

Declares Financial Aid for Students, Not 43 Million Americans With $1.3 Trillion in Debt, the ‘Real Problem’

MADISON, Wis. — In a media interview published today, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson again confirmed he is, in fact, still the worst on the $1.3 trillion student loan debt crisis that directly impacts 43 million Americans including nearly one million Wisconsin borrowers with over $19 billion in debt. When asked about higher education affordability Sen. Johnson not only repeated his opposition to allowing borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage, but went on to declare that too much financial aid for eligible students was the real problem.

“Once again, Sen. Ron Johnson demonstrated that he is without a doubt the worst elected official in America on the issue of student loan debt and college affordability,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “It’s not enough to oppose common sense reform that would help over 500,000 of his constituents save money by being able to refinance their federal student loans, just like you can with a mortgage. No, he needs to add insult to injury, blaming borrowers and financial aid for eligible students.”

Ross noted that in just six short years Sen. Johnson has compiled a truly appalling record of votes and statements related to the student loan debt crisis.

Wisconsin now ranks third highest in the nation for percentage of college graduates with student loan debt and there are over 800,000 borrowers with over $19 billion in federal student loan debt alone. Yet when presented with opportunities to support reform to allow these student loans to be refinanced, a move that would help an estimated 515,000 Wisconsinites within the first year after enactment, Sen. Johnson voted “no” on multiple occasions.

Sen. Johnson also consistently says the federal government should not be involved in helping students with low interest loans or other means to help fund students’ higher education. Instead, Johnson promotes more for-profit colleges, like Trump University, as a solution.

The multi-millionaire Sen. Johnson has even pointed to students themselves as causes of the crises of student loan debt and college affordability, based on his experience in the mid-1970s, when his $663 tuition at the University of Minnesota was 1,700 percent lower than it is today.

Perhaps most laughable are Sen. Johnson’s ideas on educational instruction. At an appearance in Milwaukee in August he declared “If you wanna teach the Civil War across the country, are you better having tens of thousands of history teachers who kinda know the subject, or would you be better off popping in 14 hours of Ken Burns Civil War tape…”

Ross concluded, “Sen. Ron Johnson is a tour de force of wrong on the student loan debt crisis with his ignorance, indifference and inanity. Student loan borrowers worked hard to get an education and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it, they’ve earned a fair shot at the middle class instead of the shoddy treatment that they’re getting from Ron Johnson.”

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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