By Amanda Litvinov and Colleen Flaherty
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While America’s students are graduating with record student loan debt, a handful of U.S. Senate candidates have shown they are more concerned with protecting the interests of the Big Banks and billionaires than those of college students and their families.U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, running in Arkansas, and Iowa state senator Joni Ernst have said the federal government should get “out of the student loan business.” Why? If Big Banks can get back in the middle of student lending, they can make a tidy profit. And for these candidates, corporate interests appear to be more important than doing anything to improve federal lending and make college more accessible to deserving students.
Their statements come with a heaping helping of hypocrisy—both used federal student loans to fund their own college education.
Rep. Cory Gardner, who also accepted federal student loans, has served in the House long enough to build up quite a record voting against the interests of college students. He voted to double student loan rates; to eliminate student loan subsidies; and voted five times to cut Pell Grants. Why? In part, so he could protect tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires.
All three of the candidates’ records are aligned with the agenda set by the radical Koch Brothers and their network of donors. At this summer’s Koch retreat in Palm Springs—an event devised to connecs politicians and ultra-rich potential donors—Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner all stated that the Koch network had propelled their careers forward. Gardner took the opportunity to pitch to the donors, saying his bid for the Senate would likely be determined by outside money.
The one thing all that money can’t buy is our vote. Everyone who cares about increasing opportunity for deserving students to earn a college degree should head to the polls in November.