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Ros-Lehtinen files bill to aid young cancer patients, inspired in part by FIU alumna


Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen chose Wednesday, the day of the Congressional Women's Softball Game that raises money for women with breast cancer, to file legislation geared at helping young cancer patients.

Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado introduced the Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment Act that would allow cancer patients to defer public student loan payments without interest while undergoing treatment. 

"For these individuals, a cancer diagnosis goes beyond the exhaustive treatment, including medical expenditures," Ros-Lehtinen said on the House floor. "It often leads to unemployment or underemployment." 

Helping drive the bill, according to Ros-Lehtinen's office, was Kate Houghton, a Florida International University alumna and former Capitol Hill staffer who was diagnosed with cancer in her mid-20s. She now heads a group called Critical Mass, which provides resources for young adults with cancer.

Houghton is also involved with the annual softball game, a favorite of the retiring Ros-Lehtinen, who likes to use Twitter to trash-talk her opponents on the field: female congressional reporters, also known as the Bad News Babes.

Photo credit: C.M. Guerrero, el Nuevo Herald