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ICYMI: Rubio Discusses VA Reform, Taliban Prisoner Release & Proposed EPA Rules

Jun 2, 2014 | Press Releases

RUBIO ON VA REFORM: “I think the most important thing we can do right now, immediately, is bring some level of accountability to the VA. Right now, the VA Secretary or the new secretary, whenever we have one in place, if you identify some sort of senior executive who isn’t doing their job – say running a VA hospital – you can’t fire them. You have no power to go in and just fire them.”

RUBIO ON TALIBAN PRISONER RELEASE: “I think this has set a tremendously dangerous precedent in terms of now motivating more Americans to be targeted because the notion that: If you get your hands on an American, you can get yourself five prisoners out of Guantanamo. And beyond it, I think that, as I said, you are returning to the battlefield extremely dangerous people at perhaps the worst possible time as the President announces that the U.S. is scaling back in Afghanistan and eventually withdrawing completely. We’re pulling out, and at the same time as we’re putting in more Taliban fighters.”

RUBIO ON JOB-KILLING EPA RULES: “What they don’t understand, or seem to want to ignore is that the largest contributors of carbon to the atmosphere today are developing countries like China and India. … Americans are going to pay a terrible price for these sorts of unilateral executive actions the President is taking on energy.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Orlando’s NewsRadio 102.5 WFLA
June 2, 2014
http://youtu.be/ASuowKlbjfM

VA REFORM

NewsRadio’s Simon Conway: “Just before you came on, we played a little piece of audio from Representative Corrine Brown, who said there’s not one single complaint in Florida about the VA. That obviously is garbage, and we proved it was garbage. This needs to be the most nonpartisan thing this country is dealing with right now, never mind bipartisan. Yet, it seems to be splitting on political lines right now. What can we do to stop that and fix this?”

Senator Marco Rubio: “Well, first of all, I agree that this is an issue that should be bipartisan, or nonpartisan. There’s a lot of other things that the parties can fight over – care of our veterans shouldn’t be one of them. We should be fighting for that. To say that there’s no problems in Florida, of course, is absurd. My office alone receives hundreds of calls a week from veterans who are struggling to get the care they need – either long waits or aren’t getting the responsiveness.

“So what can we do about it? I think the most important thing we can do right now, immediately, is bring some level of accountability to the VA. Right now, the VA Secretary or the new secretary, whenever we have one in place, if you identify some sort of senior executive who isn’t doing their job – say running a VA hospital – you can’t fire them. You have no power to go in and just fire them.

“A couple weeks ago, we saw the military come in and get rid of somebody who was running a hospital within their ranks very quickly, because they weren’t doing their jobs. There’s absolutely zero accountability here. You are likelier to receive a promotion or a bonus than you are to get fired for incompetence.”

TALIBAN PRISONER RELEASE

Rubio: “First of all, no one is unhappy about the fact that an American is [going to be] back with his family and back in the United States. Obviously, that’s a great outcome. But we have to look at the process by which this happened because it has implications for other servicemen and women. What’s happened here is pretty straightforward: This administration has negotiated with – using the government of Qatar – has negotiated with the Taliban for the release of one American soldier in exchange for a number of not just Taliban fighters, but very dangerous individuals who are almost guaranteed to eventually find their way back onto the battlefield.

“And what this has done, is it has sent a very powerful message: That the way to get  your prisoners released is to take Americans hostage, or to take Americans prisoner. And, in fact, as I saw Chairman Rogers from the House say – and I thought it was a very good point that he made yesterday on one of the Sunday shows – we’ve now set a price for American soldiers. We’ve now told people how much an American soldier is worth in terms of an exchange.

“And the last point is that the law is very clear that Congress has to authorize these sorts of things, that there has to be a Congressional activity with regards to this – and that did not happen. So again, the President ignores the law and simply acts in the way that he wants.”

Conway: “I mean, there’s supposed to be a 30-day notice to Congress that’s in the law that he signed, a 30-day notice before anyone is released from Guantanamo. Now, if you accept what they’re saying, which is, ‘We had to act immediately,’ that still doesn’t excuse the fact that Congress wasn’t told in advance. I’ll even give them, ‘Well, we couldn’t tell you 30 days in advance because this all happened very fast.’ Well, you could have told us before you did it, and they didn’t do that. They chose to ignore the law. Even Reuters, Senator, which is not known for its conservative leanings, have said that the five we’ve released are extremely dangerous people who Afghan officials say they fully expect will rejoin the battle.”

Rubio: “Yea, I think that’s the bigger point to make, is, you know, you didn’t release the janitor, the software designer, the website designer for the Taliban. You released five extremely dangerous, committed fighters who are going to, at some point, wind up right back in the battlefield. Only this time, wind up back in the battlefield with the credibility of having served time in Guantanamo, giving them even more stature within the movement.

“So, again, this sets a very dangerous precedent. We are still involved in a war on terror, and in a war on terror, the reason why you have camps like Guantanamo is you want to take combatants off the battlefield. We have just returned five highly committed combatants, eventually, to the battlefield in a very dangerous precedent.”

Conway: “An Afghan government official, actually from their spy agency, this is a quote out of Reuters again, ‘They will be very dangerous people because they have connections with regional and international terror organizations around the world.’”

Rubio: “Again, I mean, I think this has set a tremendously dangerous precedent in terms of now motivating more Americans to be targeted because the notion that if you get your hands on an American, you can get yourself five prisoners out of Guantanamo. And beyond it, I think that, as I said, you are returning to the battlefield extremely dangerous people at perhaps the worst possible time as the President announces that the U.S. is scaling back in Afghanistan and eventually withdrawing completely. We’re pulling out, and at the same time as we’re putting in more Taliban fighters.”

JOB-KILLING EPA RULES

Conway: “[…] We’re going to see new EPA rules today. They want to cut emissions from coal-fired power stations by 30%. We still don’t have Keystone. They’re out of control as well, aren’t they?”

Rubio: “This is yet another harmful measure being taken – for  the purposes of setting an example, is what they’re saying – ‘We need to go on the global stage. We have this big conference in 2015. We want the U.S. to be able to lead by example on all these climate change measures.’ What they don’t understand, or seem to want to ignore is that the largest contributors of carbon to the atmosphere today are developing countries like China and India. This notion that, ‘Somehow, if we destroy our economy by raising utility prices for Americans, they’re going to follow our example,’ is silly. They’re going to continue to grow until they feel like they’ve grown to a point where they feel like they can even entertain these sorts of things. They are far off from that. Americans are going to pay a terrible price for these sorts of unilateral executive actions the President is taking on energy.”