Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. voted against taking up a version of the student loan bill offered by Senate Democrats and defended his vote by discussing the student loans he is still trying to pay off.
“I think I am one of the only senators here who still has a student loan,” Rubio said in a paper statement. “As someone with a student loan and with a state with so many people with student loans, I support a hundred percent making sure that the interest rates on student loans do not go up. I cannot support the way the Democrats want to do it, however, because, they want to do it by raising taxes on small businesses, very small businesses. The kinds of small businesses that give jobs to graduates who not only need low interest rates but need jobs in order to pay their student loans.”
According to financial disclosures, http://pfds.opensecrets.org/N00030612_2010.pdf” target=”_blank”>Rubio lists his Sallie Mae loan as totaling between $100,000 and $250,000.
Rubio, who attended the University of Florida and the University of Miami’s law school, published an op-ed piece Tuesday discussing the need to maintain current student loan rates. In it, he described how access to student loans provided him with the opportunity to attend college and law school.
“For me, the issue of student loans is one that I am intimately familiar with. In fact, I was only able to afford college because of student loan and grant programs. After high school, I attended Tarkio College in Missouri to play football. Since my parents could not afford to help me financially, the school put together a financial aid package that allowed me to pursue my dreams of going to college and playing football. After one season, I moved back to Florida and dedicated myself more to my studies, first at community college, then the University of Florida and finally the University of Miami’s law school. Throughout this time, I relied on student loans, grants and hard work,” Rubio wrote for FoxNews.com.
During an interview with National Journal’s Major Garrett last month, Rubio joked about how at the age of 40, he is still making student loan payments.
“I still have a student loan by the way. I pay a lady named Sallie Mae every month,” Rubio said to laughter in April.
Read more about the student loan debate on Capitol Hill here.