wisconsin capitol
Press Release
April 2, 2014

One Big National Crisis, Two Different Approaches From Wisconsin Congressional Representatives

Rep. Pocan to Offer Budget Amendment to Allow Refinancing of Student Loans to Fight $1.2 Trillion Crisis, Rep. Ryan Seeks to Slash Student Aid

MADISON, Wis. — The $1.2 trillion student loan debt crisis has drawn wildly divergent responses from two Wisconsin Congressional Representatives, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. In the House Committee on the Budget today, Representative Mark Pocan (WI-2) is offering a common-sense proposal to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their federal loans to take advantage of lower interest rates. Meanwhile, failed Vice-Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan’s (WI-1) latest budget scheme proposes slashing Pell Grants, the largest federal financial aid program for eligible students, by an estimated $125 billion over the next 10 years.

Ross commented, “The $1.2 trillion student loan debt weighing on the finances of 40 million Americans is a clear and present danger to our economy. Our elected representatives can either fight to restore fairness to the system or stand by and watch as this crisis becomes an economic catastrophe.”

Under the terms of the Pocan amendment, borrowers with federal student loans would be allowed to refinance to take advantage of lower interest rates, just like borrowers can with home mortgage and other consumer loans. To offset any costs associated with the reduced interest payments from borrowers to the government, Pocan also proposes closing several tax loopholes like those for corporate CEO pay, corporate jet depreciation and offshoring of jobs and assets.

In contrast, Rep. Paul Ryan would put higher education out of reach or force those students least able to afford rising tuition deeper in to debt. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of the budget plan Rep. Ryan released earlier this week found the major federal financial aid program eligible students rely on to help fund their schooling would be decimated. Pell Grants would be cut by over $125 billion in the coming decade, maximum grant amounts would be frozen even as tuition skyrockets and eligibility for assistance would be scaled back.

“Borrowers have done the right thing, working hard for their education and taking on the personal responsibility of paying for it. They aren’t asking for a bailout,” said Ross. “They’ve earned a fair shot at the middle class instead of the multi-decade debt sentence they’re getting far too often under the system today.”

Ross noted how the current system is stacked against borrowers — students and their families are increasingly squeezed by skyrocketing tuition caused by cutbacks in support for higher education while Wall Street banks and even the federal government profiteer on the loans they have been forced to take out to pay for their education.

He concluded, “The system needs to be changed, but the question is how. Rep. Pocan is proposing a common sense solution to help hard working borrowers while Rep. Ryan would accelerate the downward spiral by forcing those least able to afford it deeper into debt.”

# # #

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

wisconsin state capitol building at night
Press Release

Scott Walker to Call Special Session on Attacks on Poor, People of Color

Wisconsin Republicans led by Gov. Scott Walker announced a special session of the legislature devoted to renewed attacks on families struggling to get by.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
01/18/2018
UNSPUN Screenshot
In the News

UNSPUN: Democratic Win in State Senate Special Election

Analysts discuss the Democratic win in a state Senate special election and fundraising numbers for Wisconsin gubernatorial candidates.
WMTV-TV
01/17/2018
american flag
In the News

Wisconsin progressives need to build a bigger boat

The divisive, distracted, disappointing quarter century of Scott Walker as a Wisconsin elected official could mean progressives will need a bigger boat in 2018.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
01/12/2018
wisconsin capitol
Press Release

Scott Walker Hypocrisy Reaches ‘Biblical Proportions’

Scott Walker has failed to express remorse for his own appearance as a featured speaker sharing a stage with white nationalists at a conference three weeks ago.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
01/08/2018
scott walker
Press Release

Gov. Scott Walker Praises Creators of Student Loan Debt Crisis

Scott Walker, who opposes a common sense student loan refinance plan, is “honoring” one of the nation’s most worst actors in the student loan crisis, Sallie Mae.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
01/05/2018
adam jarchow student loan debt
Press Release

Rep. Adam Jarchow Stars as ‘Jar Jar Banks’ In 10th Senate District Run

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross suggested Rep. Adam Jarchow has earned the moniker “Jar Jar Banks” for choosing banks over student loan borrowers.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
01/05/2018
donald trump drawing
Press Release

Trump Election Integrity Commission Disbanded

A federal commission on “election integrity”, announced with much fanfare by Donald Trump in 2017, was disbanded on Wednesday.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Institute
01/04/2018
wisconsin capitol dome interior
Press Release

Closing Lincoln Hills Does Not Absolve Scott Walker, Brad Schimel

Scott Walker and Brad Schimel ignored and then repeatedly failed to act on the mounting crisis at Lincoln Hills.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
01/04/2018