Fighting for Florida

Today Senator Rubio demonstrated his commitment to providing American children with the finest Elementary and Secondary Education by signing on as co-sponsor of three pieces of education legislation:
Mr. President, I rise today to commend my friend and colleague, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, on the outstanding speech he delivered yesterday at the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate, North Carolina. I share Senator Rubio’s conviction that America is at our best in the world when we put our values at the center of our foreign policy, beginning with a commitment to the cause of freedom. Senator Rubio’s thoughtful warning against the danger of withdrawing behind our borders is especially timely and important. He is absolutely right that, when we do not confront monsters like al Qaeda abroad, they will sooner or later come to threaten us here at home.
Today, Senator Mark Kirk (IL) introduced a bill to establish a smart card pilot program under the Medicare program which would curb the estimated $60 billion per year of waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare system. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill. Medicare is already facing long-term challenges, so we need to protect seniors and prevent people from abusing the system.
Rubio: "It is our responsibility to clearly outline to the American people what our proper role in the world is and what American interests are at stake when we engage abroad. ... If this is to be another American Century, the world needs a strong America now. Because freedom cannot survive without us."

ICYMI: On Eve Of Major Foreign Policy Speech, CQ Magazine Profiles Rubio

Congressional Quarterly: "Through his high-profile speeches, as well as his legislative collaborations with senior senators and daily work on the Foreign Relations and Select Intelligence panels, he is emerging as a fresh GOP voice on foreign policy."

Sep 12 2011

Tea Party Favorite Bucks Isolationism
By Emily Cadei, Congressional Quarterly

Marco Rubio was the last in the current crop of freshman senators to deliver his maiden speech. When he finally took the floor, the Republican from South Florida sounded a very different note than the 12 GOP freshmen who spoke before him.

Where others focused exclusively on the domestic economy — the size of the U.S. debt, the need for a balanced-budget amendment, their opposition to raising taxes — Rubio chose a global theme, offering his vision for America's role in the world in the 21st century.

Mobile Office Hours

Sep 09 2011

Throughout the month of September, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's staff will be hosting several "Mobile Office Hours" to meet with constituents and assist them with federal issues in their own communities. For constituents who can't visit the regional offices, these "Mobile Office Hours" offer a more convenient way to seek federal casework assistance. All times listed below are local.
Mr President, I would like to submit the following articles for the record highlighting the resilience and strength of the Cuban people as they continue to struggle under an oppressive regime. These stories and videos which continue to surface out of Cuba have underlined the Cuban Government's inhumane actions against its people. Santa Maria Fonseca is one of these brave "Ladies in White" who continues to peacefully fight for liberty in Cuba. She explained, "Our objective is that one day the people will join us." Ms. Fonseca and the Cuban people deserve our unyielding support in their courageous efforts to reclaim freedom in Cuba.

Mr. President:

Due to health concerns of my mother, I was absent for roll call votes on Senate Joint Resolution 25 and on final passage of H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, as amended by the House of Representatives.

Had I been present for the roll call vote on Senate Joint Resolution 25, I would have voted “yea.” I strongly disapprove of the surge in federal spending that has pushed our national debt to $14.7 trillion, and firmly believe that Congress must cut spending immediately and send a strict Constitutional balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification. We must also give job creators the certainty they need to hire new workers, expand operations -- growing the economy and increasing revenue in the process. Instead of pretending that more debt-financed spending will create prosperity, Congress should take job-destroying tax hikes off the table, overhaul our burdensome regulatory system, and immediately pass the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. 

Mr. President, had I been present for the roll call vote on final passage of H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, as amended by the House of Representatives, I would have voted “nay” absent the adoption of both Amendment #599 offered by Senator Coburn related to “fee diversion” and Amendment #600 offered by Senator Sessions related to the 60-day period for application of patent term extension. H.R. 1249 is significantly different than the original Senate bill that I supported, and will ultimately not accomplish the goal of modernizing the patent process in the United States in the most effective manner.  

The patent process in our country is painfully slow and inefficient.  It takes years from the time an invention is submitted to the Patent and Trade Office (PTO) to the time that the patent is granted and the holder of the patent gains legal rights to their invention. Currently, there are over 700,000 patents waiting for their first review by the PTO.  I supported the original Senate bill, S.23, which would have ensured that the PTO was properly funded, reducing the time between the filing of a patent and the granting of the same.  This bill, which passed the Senate by a 95-5 margin on March 8, 2011, included critical provisions that would have ensured that user fees paid to the PTO would stay within the Office to cover its operating costs, rather being diverted to fund unrelated government programs.  

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives removed these important provisions, which were critical to securing my support for patent reform.  A modernized patent process that restricted “fee diversion” would have spurred innovation and job creation. Small inventors have raised concerns about the new patent processes that the bill sets forth, and without adequate protections against fee diversion, I am unable to support this bill.  Additionally, I have concerns about House language that resolves certain legal issues for a limited group of patent holders.  I support the underlying goals of this bill, but for the aforementioned reasons, I would have voted “nay” on H.R. 1249 had I been present. 

Leader Mitch McConnell’s op-ed in the Washington Post today points to the need for President Obama to finalize three free-trade agreements, with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama, that are currently sitting on his desk waiting for action. Senator McConnell noted : “These delays have put America at a major economic disadvantage, costing jobs and opportunities.”

In March, Senator Rubio wrote an op-ed for National Review Online calling for the passage of the very same free-trade agreements. Senator Rubio highlighted how important agreements with Colombia and Panama would be to help boost Florida’s economy criticizing the President for allowing “these golden economic opportunities to languish by not submitting the deals to Congress for up-or-down votes.”

We needed immediate action then and we still need it now.