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Rubio Draws “Line In The Sand” Over Debt Limit
Rubio: “So the bottom line is the debt limit and the fact that we don’t have a solution for the debt, that is also the crisis, and we need to begin to deal with these things seriously and stop playing games around here. And someone has to draw a line in the sand, and I know that me and many of my colleagues intend to do so every chance we get.”
U.S. Senate Floor Speech
Senator Marco Rubio
July 11, 2013
Madam President, let me say at the outset on this debt limit issue that we have been told by everyone here that the debt limit is not going to be dealt with; they don’t intend to deal with it; that, in fact, we have rules in place that prohibit that from happening. So if the intent is to say we are not going to deal with the debt limit, why not just put it in writing? Why not just agree to it? I think it raises suspicion that they refuse to take the debt limit off the table in writing in a specific motion, even though they told us that is not the case.
But I want to raise a couple of points in regard to all this debate we are having. We heard a lot of debate about the impact of the sequester on this country. I do not dispute that it will have an impact. In fact, I voted against the deal that actually gave us the sequester, and I voted against it because, while I believe deeply we need to constrain spending because we are spending a lot more money than we are taking in, about $1 trillion a year more than we are taking in, borrowing about 40 cents of every dollar we spend in the Federal Government–for the folks visiting here in the gallery, you may be shocked to hear that. Every dollar the Federal Government spends, 40 cents of it is borrowed. When you borrow it, that means you have to pay it back with interest. That is your money. That doesn’t come from a tree. That is money taxpayers are eventually going to have to come up with. And for the youngsters here, I want you to understand it is primarily going to come from you in the years to come.
So the reason I thought the sequester was a bad idea is because that sequester is going after things that by and large are not the drivers of our debt. The drivers of our debt are certain programs that are built in a way that are unsustainable, important programs such as Medicare. I believe in Medicare. I support Medicare, as I tell anyone when they ask me about it. My mother is on Medicare. I don’t want to see Medicare hurt or changed for her. But I also recognize that if Medicare is going to exist when I retire, we better start making some changes to it for future retirees, people 20 or 30 years from now. That is where we should be focusing our reform efforts.
We cannot get the other side to agree on any sort of changes. There was an effort in the House last year to try to do something very serious about that. They brutally attacked it. There was a reference to the Ryan budget a moment ago. The Ryan budget–I am not saying it was perfect, but it was the most serious effort yet in this Congress, in this city, to reform a program that is going bankrupt on its own.
I think the only thing worse than the sequester is to raise taxes to prevent a sequester because that will hurt job creation in America. The only thing worse than the sequester is not to have any spending reductions at all, which leads me to the point that was raised earlier saying that we are not going to agree to a short-term budget unless ObamaCare is defunded and that we are threatening a crisis by shutting down the government.
Let me say that one of the people who said that was me, so let me address that for a moment. Let me tell you what the disaster is. The real disaster is ObamaCare itself. In fact, it is such a disaster that the people who supported it are now delaying implementing portions of it. Just last week we were told that one of the key components of the law requiring that employers provide insurance–they are going to have to delay that by a year, conveniently until after the next election.
Here is the other thing we found out last week. I know that under ObamaCare, when you go in and say, I make so much money, you can qualify for the government to give you extra money to buy insurance. Guess what. They now admitted they have no way of verifying how much money you really make. Basically, it means people are going to get to show up and say, I only make $20,000 a year, and get their subsidy, with no way to verify the truth about what they make.
It is not limited to that. The disaster that is looming with regard to ObamaCare impacts every single American. Here is a list of them that was recently produced by the Heritage Foundation. They missed a bunch of deadlines.
Most states resisted Obamacare’s call to create insurance exchanges, choosing to let Washington create a federally run exchange instead. However, a Government Accountability Office report noted that “critical” activities to create a federal exchange have not been completed and the missed deadlines “suggest a potential for challenges going forward.”
That is right–you may have to go on a Federal exchange–including, ironically enough, the Members of the Congress and their staffs–and the exchange doesn’t exist yet. You are going to be expected in a couple of months to sign up for something that doesn’t even exist yet. That is one part of the disaster. There are many others.
The administration announced in April that workers will not be able to choose plans from different health insurers in the small business exchanges next year–a delay that [a liberal blogger] called “a really bad sign of ObamaCare incompetence.”
Here is another one, the child-only plans–one of the things people were excited about. There was a drafting error in the law that actually led to less access to care for children with preexisting conditions.
A 2011 report found that in 17 states, insurers are no longer selling child-only health insurance plans, because they fear that individuals will apply for coverage only after being diagnosed with costly illnesses.
Basic health plan: DELAYED.
This government-run plan for states, created as part of ObamaCare, has also been delayed, prompting one Democrat to criticize the Administration for failing to “live up” to the law and implement it as written.
The early retiree reinsurance–it is broke.
The $5 billion in funding for this program was intended to last until 2014–but the program’s money ran out in 2011, two years ahead of schedule.
After the law passed, HHS discovered that some of its new mandates would raise costs so much that employers would drop coverage rather than face skyrocketing premiums. Instead, the Administration announced a series of temporary waivers–and more than half the recipients of those waivers were members of union health insurance plans.
It goes on and on. This thing is a disaster. I don’t care about how you feel about it, there is an insurance crisis in America, let there be no doubt. People are struggling to find access to quality health insurance. We should deal with that, but this approach is a disaster. No matter how you feel about it, it is a disaster. It cannot be implemented in time. You don’t think that is looming over our economy?
I just left a meeting with an owner of a chain of restaurants. They are worried about it. They don’t know what to make of it. Why, if you ask what it is going to look like next year, they don’t know. They don’t know. We are in July already, folks.
We are going to implement this? We are going to force this on our economy? You don’t think that is a disaster? You don’t think in the real world–not in Washington or the think tanks–small- and medium-sized businesses and individuals are holding back on investing or holding back on making moves? You don’t think someone who decided to leave their job, take their life’s savings, and open a business because they believe so much in their dream–you don’t think this uncertainty is hurting that from happening? It is.
You cannot grow your economy unless people are willing to start new businesses or grow existing businesses, and ObamaCare is keeping that from happening. That is the disaster.
Why would we fund a disaster? Why would we pay for something out of the American taxpayer’s wallet we know isn’t going to work? When they talk about shutting down the government and how it is going to be a disaster–ObamaCare threatens to shut down our economy. I am telling you this is a disaster. We should not fund it, and we should not have a temporary budget around here that gives money to this thing. It is a disaster, it will not work, and it is going to hurt people.
The other thing about this debt limit that I make such a big deal about–let me tell you why. We owe $17 trillion, and that is bad, and it is bigger than our economy. Here is the worst part about it: There is no plan in place to stop that from continuing to grow. You heard right. There is no plan. This budget the Senate passed–I am glad we passed a budget–only makes it worse; it doesn’t make it better.
Where is the urgency? What are we waiting for? This isn’t going to take care of itself. We are not going to win the Powerball lottery and pay this thing off. When is someone going to step up and say it is time to solve it?
I have been here now 2 1/2 years. If on the day I got elected you told me we would go 2 1/2 years without seriously dealing with this, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have said: Look, I know it is going to be hard, but we have to do something. We are 2 1/2 years into this, and they are saying: We are going to raise the debt limit, and we don’t want any conditions. We don’t want to deal with anything that fixes it.
People say: Well, the debt is something that is far off in the future. It is off in the future, but it is also happening now. Do you think when people decide to invest money to start a new business or expand an existing business–which is how you create jobs; that is how jobs are created in the private sector.
If you graduated college, went to school, got your degree, and now you can’t find a job, I will tell you why you cannot find a job: The businesses that create those jobs will not create them until all of this is figured out. People do not want to risk their hard-earned and saved money in an economy that is headed for a catastrophe.
Look at what is happening in Europe now. Europe has a debt problem. You know how they have had to deal with it? Disruptive changes in government and tax increases. If you think that stuff attracts investment in business, you are out of your mind. There isn’t a chamber of commerce in the world that tells people: Come to us. Here we have high taxes and heavy debt that will make those taxes even bigger in the future.
The bottom line is that the debt limit and the fact that we don’t have a solution for the debt is also the reason for the crisis. We need to begin dealing with this seriously and stop playing games. Someone has to draw a line in the sand, and I know many of my colleagues and I intend to do so every chance we get.