U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis calls out ‘SOS,’ introduces the Students Over Special Interests Act

Polis’s bill cancels out all student loan debt, repeals Republican tax plan

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Washington, May 23, 2018 | comments

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., unveiled a bill to repeal the Republican tax plan and its $1.9 trillion in corporate and special interest giveaways - redirecting those funds to student loan borrowers, cancelling out the nearly $1.4 trillion in student loan debt nationwide.  It uses the remaining savings to invest in Pell Grants and reduce the federal deficit.

The Students Over Special Interests (SOS) Act would provide financial relief to nearly 43 million student loan borrowers who have been weighted down by debt for far too long. Read more about the bill here

“The Republican tax plan was all about special interests cashing in at the expense of everyone else.  My plan shows what a difference we can make for middle-class Americans for even less cost. So many people go to school, get a job, and work hard but still struggle to get ahead because they are weighted down by student loans.  It’s time to help them get out from the mountain of debt they are under,” said Polis.  “The good news is - if we repeal the Republicans’ sweetheart deals for corporations, we can cancel out all student loan debt, make college more affordable for future students, and still have money left over to reduce our deficit.”

Student loan debt can prevent or delay families from major financial decisions, like buying a home or saving for retirement.  The Students Over Special Interests Act will make it possible for countless families to buy a home and get out from under debt.  In addition, according to the Levy Economics Institute, cancelling out student loan debt would have even further-reaching effects, spurring job growth and economic activity. 

Polis continually hears from current and former students of various economic backgrounds and all ages who struggle with student loan debt. 

For example, Linsi Bowers, a native Coloradan and University of Colorado at Boulder graduate, was the first to go to college in her immediate family. 

“I made smart choices by staying in my home state for school and holding a job throughout all four years. I worked in customer service for five years to support myself along with completing multiple internships and volunteer opportunities to help my chances of gaining employment post-graduation. All the while, the thought of my mounting debt caused debilitating anxiety and depression, said Bowers.  “Post-graduation, the effect of my decision to attend college is unavoidable; six months after I graduated I was required to start paying back my loans before having secured a full-time job. At one point, I worked three part-time jobs to stay afloat.”

Another example is Sam Ayers, a long-time law enforcement officer, single parent of three children, and graduate of Metropolitan State University in Denver. 

“While going to school, I accumulated student loans.  I have paid on them for the last 11 years,” said Ayers.  “I believe I have conducted my personal life in a responsible manner and have served my community and the State of Colorado to the best of my ability, […] and loan forgiveness is earned.”

In other examples, Polis’s office has been bowled over with testimony from current veterinary students at Colorado State University who preemptively worry about student loan debt, including the case of Alex McFarland. 

“Since I began this journey to higher education I've faced homelessness, failed classes to work full time, and incurred a substantial amount of debt beyond the average student. Yet, I continue to fight because I believe we must do better to protect our planet and equip the next generation with the tools to do so,” said McFarland.

“We can make a game-changing positive difference for millions of people with the Students Over Special Interests plan instead of the Republican tax plan,” said Polis.

The bill is endorsed by Social Security Works and Freedom to Prosper. 

Polis serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He is the top-Democrat on the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee and a member of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee. Polis is the former chair of the Colorado State Board of Education, and the founder and former superintendent of The New America School - a network of charter schools in several states serving new immigrants and English-language learners - as well as the Academy for Urban Learning for homeless and at-risk youth. The district he represents today includes Colorado State University and University of Colorado.

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