Marco Rubio introduced a bill Monday that would help victims of terrorist attacks, such as the one at the Pulse nightclub earlier this year, with deferments on their student loans so they could move on from the trauma at their own pace and continue living the lives they were trying to before the attacks.
Although the survivors of Pulse already have options for assistance, Rubio says his bill will provide further support not currently being explored by other officials.
The bill came about, Rubio said, because of a young man who approached his office after Pulse and told them his injuries from the attack might prevent him from pursuing his dream career.
“In the aftermath of the June 12th terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub, my office assisted one young man whose injuries may prevent him from pursuing his career and made it difficult for him to make his student loan payments on time,” said Rubio.
“Initially, he worried he might never be able to get his career on track, and thought about requesting full loan forgiveness. But as a testament to his resilience and determination, he has reconsidered and set out to continue on his path. Instead of loan forgiveness, he simply asked for a delay of when his payments become due, and my office stepped in to help with the process.”
The bill would provide a one-year pause for victims so they can get back on their feet or pursue further deferment or forbearance, direct the U.S. Secretary of Education to establish anti-fraud protections, and designate the federal agency in charge of investigating the terror attack to identify victims.
The bill would apply to borrowers of federal direct loans and Perkins loans.
“Unfortunately, existing law does not automatically recognize an extraordinary situation like this, where giving survivors some time to regroup and delay their payments should be common sense,” Rubio said. “My bill would change that, and I hope we can get it passed this year because the last thing anyone who survives a terrorist attack needs is to have to jump through a bunch of hoops in order to get their life back on track.”