5 Reasons Sen. Johnson's Latest Hearing Is A Political Show

Oct 01, 2015

5 Reasons Sen. Johnson’s Latest Hearing Is A Political Show
MADISON — In bold-faced attempt to find political cover for his out-of-touch beliefs Senator Ron Johnson used the Senate Homeland Security Committee to host a hearing on college affordability and student loans entitled “A review of the Department of Education.”

Senator Johnson’s hearing is an attempt to cover up his recently exposed belief the federal government should have no role in student loans.

Here’s the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s five reasons why Senator Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee hearing is a political show focused on his reelection campaign, not students:

1. There’s a Senate Committee on Health, EDUCATION, Labor & Pensions:

2. Senator Ron Johnson voted to eliminate the Department of Education:

Johnson Voted For The Extreme Rand Paul Budget That Would Eliminate The Department Of Education. In March 2013, Johnson voted for: “Paul, R-Ky., substitute amendment no. 263 that would call for a balanced budget in five years with no revenue increases. It would allow up to $942.6 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2014, including $529.2 billion for defense. It would assume repeal of the 2010 health care and financial regulatory overhaul laws and assume a tax code overhaul that would eliminate the estate and capital gains taxes and switch to a flat tax system. It would assume changes to Medicare to provide seniors the same health insurance as members of Congress and assume a gradual increase in the eligibility age for Social Security from 65 to 70 over 20 years. It also would assume the elimination of the Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Education and Energy departments.” The measure was rejected by a vote of 18-81. [CQ, 3/22/13; S.Amdt. 263 to S.Con.Res. 8, Vote 69, 3/22/13]
Rand Paul’s FY 2014 Budget Would Have Eliminated The Department Of Education. From Rand Paul’s FY2014 Budget: “The budget eliminates four federal departments – the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Development, and privatizes the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).” [Senator Rand Paul, A Clear Vision To Revitalize America, FY 2014]

3. Senator Ron Johnson says Wisconsin students think student loans are “free money”:

Johnson Argued Students Do Not Understand How Loans Work, Saying They Think “It’s Kind Of Free Money” And “Young People Don’t Necessarily Understand Finance.” “Johnson, who’s one of the most vulnerable GOP senators next year, was discussing the rising cost of college education with constituents in Verona last Saturday when he argued that federal student loan programs had made it too easy for students to take on big loads of debt. […]Johnson continued on to argue that students think that ‘It’s kind of free money, young people don’t necessarily understand finance.’” [The Hill, 3/25/15]

Johnson Claimed Students Stay In College To Avoid Working And Blamed Loans For Allowing It. “He cited studies that the average college student takes 5½ to 6 years to earn a degree. He said that’s because they don’t feel any urgency to get to work and start contributing to the economy.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 3/21/15]
4. Senator Ron Johnson believes the federal government “shouldn’t even be involved in granting student loans“:

Johnson: “Federal Government Shouldn’t Even Be Involved In Granting Student Loans.” “Why are we encouraging our young people to get into debt? Why is the federal government making money off of student loans? Why is the federal government even involved in student loan program? I have multiple problems with that. For all you young people who agree with Ron Paul in terms of limited government — federal government shouldn’t even be involved in granting student loans. One of the reasons we have education increasing at a rate four times of inflation is because of federal government involvement, because of federal government spending. It’s kind of a death spiral.” [Youtube, Ron Johnson at the Republican National Convention, 9/1/12] (video)

Politifact Rated Feingold’s Claim That Johnson Was “Opposed To All Government-Assisted Student Loans” As “Mostly True.” “Feingold said Johnson ‘is opposed to all government-assisted student loans.’ Johnson has said the government never should have gotten involved in student loans, shouldn’t be involved in it and should look to gradually get out of it. But one of his votes helped student borrowers in the short term, though that measure could lead to higher interest rates in future years, since the rates are tied to changes in the financial markets. Feingold’s statement is accurate but needs clarification, our definition of Mostly True.” [Politifact, 6/19/15]

5. Senator Ron Johnson is out-of-touch with the cost of college. He brags about paying his way through school when tuition was $546 dollars. Total cost for a year at UW-Madison now, $24,735:

Johnson Worked Full-Time In College When Costs Were “A Lot Cheaper” . “Johnson: My first job was for a $1.45 an hour. And again I worked full time. And I think the most number of hours I worked was going to college, was 96 in a week plus taking full workload. Constituent: How much did college cost when went? Johnson: It was a lot cheaper Constituent: And how much was your rent? Johnson: I was able to live at my parents house. OK?” [Youtube, The Uptake, 12/11/11]