Fighting for Florida

Free Alan Gross

Aug 01 2011

"Earlier today, I asked Unanimous Consent that a July 29, 2011 editorial by The Washington Post entitled 'Cuba Should Free Alan Gross' be entered in the official Senate Record.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the Cuban regime's unjust incarceration of Alan Gross. As the editorial highlights and as the Castro regime well knows, Mr. Gross is simply a humanitarian who was seeking to help the Jewish community in Cuba access the Internet. Only the most oppressive, totalitarian regime would seek to jail someone for trying to expand access to uncensored information.

"As this editorial notes, 'The regime in Havana is so brittle and creaky that it blanches at the idea of its subjects communicating too freely with the outside world, lest they undermine a communist system whose attempts at economic development have delivered scanty results.'

"I also want to take this opportunity to once again call on the Obama administration to halt its new Cuba policies that liberalize travel and expand allowable remittances to Cuba. This unilateral gift to the Castro brothers by the Obama administration is totally unwarranted, especially in light of Mr. Gross’ case as well as the ongoing repression of the Cuban people."
Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on the nomination of Jonathan Farrar to be the U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua. After thoroughly researching his track record, consulting with others familiar with his work and personally questioning him during a Senate hearing last month, I believe his confirmation would send the wrong message and I strenuously oppose it.

Senator Rubio on CBS "Face The Nation"

Rubio: "The only credible plan to deal with the debt must have budgetary reforms and pro-growth strategies."

Jul 18 2011


Bob Schieffer: "Do you really mean all of that literally, Senator, that everything in America is worse? And I take it that it is all Barack Obama's fault."

Senator Rubio:  "First of all, every President has to be judged by the times in which he lives. This President’s now been in charge for two and a half years, okay? He has increased federal spending by 28 percent. Washington went along with his prescription for joblessness which was the stimulus package, and unemployment is higher than it was when he took over.  Significantly higher, in fact.  We have not had unemployment this high for this long since the Great Depression with no signs of it getting better.  Over 20 million Americans today as they watch this program are either unemployed or underemployed and none of the things he said we need to do in order to turn that around have worked. 

"As far as waiting long to deal with this, here are the facts. When I came to Washington in January, we already knew this debt limit issue was upon us, but nothing happened during the State of the Union. He proposed a budget that was so ludicrous that not even the Democrats in the Senate would vote for it.  A budget that increased the debt, not solved it.  Months went by, weeks went by and up until very recently the President was completely disengaged from this debt limit debate.

"And I do think that in the context of politics, there was a strategy to leave this to the last possible moment so that there would be a take-it-or-leave-it scenario like what some are painting right now. And I repeat, this is not a game, this is a very serious issue. People watching at home they don't care who is going to win the debt limit debate; they want to know how come they can't find a job.  And the answer is because until America has a credible solution to its debt problem, people will be afraid to invest in America’s economy and create jobs here at home."


Bob Schieffer: "Well, where are the concessions that the Republicans are willing to make? I heard the President just this week say, 'Yeah he’d be willing to talk about means testing for people on Medicare.' I don’t hear any concessions from people on the other side, they just say no taxes, and that’s their negotiating posture."

Senator Rubio:  "Well, I don’t think that’s an accurate reflection. I can only speak for myself.  I come from a state that has a massive number of retirees and I’ve stood before cameras like this and made it very clear, if we don’t do something to save Medicare and Social Security, they will bankrupt themselves and bankrupt our country. Those programs are unsustainable as they are currently structured. That we are going to lose those programs unless we do something to deal with it. I did that during the campaign and everybody told me I’d lost my mind in terms of talking about these issues.  So I think as far as I’m concerned, and many like me, we have stepped up and talked about some of these issues that face America. Congressman Ryan has paid a terrible political price early on this year for even offering a potential solution to some of these problems. So I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment."


Bob Schieffer: "Are you ready to say that you will not vote for anything that lets the government go into default on its debts? So are you willing to let that happen?"

Senator Rubio:  "Well I think that if all we do is raise the debt limit, that's exactly what we're doing.  The full faith and credit of the United States is in danger if all we do is raise the debt limit and it’s not accompanied by a credible plan to begin to deal with this debt issue.  And it’s not me saying it, it's Standard and Poor saying it.  It's the rating houses saying it. I think people every time they cite these reports in the media outlets, they need to read the full report because if you read the full report, they say yes we're concerned about the U.S. not voting to raise its debt limit but we're really concerned that the United States and its government does not have a credible plan to deal with the debt and the only credible plan to deal with the debt is not simply raising the debt limit.  You must also have budgetary reforms put in place that show how you're going to save money and pro-growth strategies that show how you're going to grow your economy.  If we don't do that we are in a lot of trouble."


Bob Schieffer: "Aren't you going to have to have some way to increase revenues that goes beyond just cutting taxes?"

Senator Rubio: "I think everybody in Washington would like to see more revenues. The question is: number one, how do you get more revenues? And number two, what do you do with it?

“I think more revenue should come from economic growth. And I think it should come from that because I think it's impossible for it to come from tax increases. None of the tax increases the President is proposing solves the problem. They don't raise enough money. In fact, they make it worse. They kill jobs.  And by the way, I don't trust Washington because they have shown, time and again, that any time they get their hands on more money, they don't use it to pay or avoid debt. They use it to grow the government.

“That's what I'm in favor of. I'm in favor of more revenue that comes from economic growth, the creation of new jobs.  And if you talk to job creators - not politicians, not Presidents - if you talk to job creators, they will tell you that what they're looking for is a fairer and simpler tax code. So I do support tax reform, and I think there is a lot of support for tax reform in Washington. And they're looking for some regulatory reform as well, because they think these regulations that are being imposed make America a more unfriendly place to do business.

"When people tell you communist China is a better place to do business than America, you know you're in trouble."


Senator Rubio: A Debt Compromise That Kills Jobs Is Not A Real Solution

Sen. Rubio On CNN's "John King USA"

Jul 15 2011

Rubio: Our Compromise Has To Be A Solution

Senator Rubio: “I've always believed in a grander deal. I want to us do a lot of things. I outlined that three months ago when I said we need to do tax reform. We need to save Medicare and Social Security. We need regulatory reform. We need a spending cap. We need a balanced budget amendment. I wanted us to do this months ago, and I continue to say this is a great opportunity to do something really meaningful for the future of our country. But our compromise has to also be a solution. It can't just be a compromise for the sake of avoiding this for another day.”

Rubio: New Revenue Should Come From New Taxpayers, Not New Taxes

Senator Rubio: “I think there has to be new revenues. I think the debate is: where does the new revenue come from? I think the new revenue comes not from new taxes but from new taxpayers, from economic growth, from the addition of new jobs, and I think tax reform will get us there. I think there's broad bipartisan support for tax reform, for simplifying our tax code, for getting rid of things that are part of the tax code that are the result of good lobbying and not good policy. But our economy, number one, can't afford any tax increases right now. Number two, it wouldn't generate more revenue. And number three, it wouldn't solve the debt problem. The tax increases the President is talking about don't even buy us ten days’ worth of deficit spending, but they would kill a bunch of jobs.”

Rubio Calls Out President's Social Security Scare Tactics

"If they don't get their Social Security checks, it’s because the President’s decided to do that, because we still have revenue coming in. ... I think people are going to be shocked to learn the real truth about what the government's done with their Social Security money."

Jul 13 2011

Sen. Rubio on “The Hugh Hewitt Show”

Sen. Rubio: People Are Going to Be Shocked to Learn the Real Truth About What the Government’s Done With Their Social Security Money

Hugh Hewitt: “Senator Rubio, you represent a lot of senior citizens in Florida. The country knows that. I think it’s despicable to scare them this way. What’s your reaction to the President’s threat to hold their Social Security checks hostage?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, if they don’t get their Social Security checks, it’s because the President’s decided to do that, because we still have revenue coming in. Here’s the other thing I would say. If in fact the President holds up their checks for Social Security, and Medicare, and whatever else he wants to hold up to make his point, isn’t he admitting that all these programs are funded by deficit spending? Isn’t he admitting that all these programs are dependent upon borrowed money?

“And I think the folks who are on Social Security, people like my mom, would be shocked to learn the truth that the money that they’re receiving in Social Security isn’t the money they worked hard for all these years to put away, the government was going to give back to them in their retirement. The government spent all that money already. They spent it long ago on other things. This is borrowed money. This is money that we’re borrowing from our children and our grandchildren. And I think people are going to, if that happens, I think people are going to be shocked to learn the real truth about what the government’s done with their Social Security money.”

Sen. Rubio: This Issue of the Debt Limit Didn’t Sneak Up On Us

Hugh Hewitt: “Do you think the negotiations that he had lured Republicans into over the last couple of weeks have been in bad faith?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, I wasn’t in those negotiations, so I’d hate to characterize something I wasn’t a part of. Let me say that he was late to the game.

“First of all, the President, this is not a new issue, okay? This issue of the debt limit didn’t sneak up on us. This has been around for a while. We knew this was coming. And then the President’s done nothing on it. He gave a state of the union speech this year, never mentioned any plans about how to address this. He offered a budget before Congress, and the budget was so bad, I mean, it actually increased the debt. His budget was so bad, so unrealistic, that when we put it to a vote here in the Senate, not even a single Democrat voted for it. That’s how bad it was. It didn’t get a single vote.

“So he’s had multiple opportunities to deal with this, and he’s kind of punted and moved the ball along, and focused on other things. And now, with three weeks to go, two weeks to go, all of a sudden, he wants to ride in and act like he’s leading. Well, he’s not leading. In fact, what he’s doing is he’s trying to position this as a political issue, so he can claim victory for his 2012 election. But the reality of it is that people know better, they’re going to realize it, we’re going to continue to talk about it.”

Sen. Rubio: We Need A Reasonable And Realistic Tax Package That Seriously Lowers Our Debt

Sen. Rubio: “The debt limit is a symptom, it’s not our problem. The core problem is our debt and the fact that our government borrows 40 cents out of every dollar and has no idea how it is going to pay it back. And that’s a combination of spending, we just spend way too much as a government, and loss of revenues, again not loss of revenues because our taxes aren’t high enough, loss of revenues because we have too many people who are out of work that are not paying taxes.

“So the solution seems to me to be a combination of fiscal discipline on the spending side, which you have to enforce through spending caps, a balanced budget amendment and cuts starting right now. And, at the same time, some sort of pro-growth measures that get people back to work, that creates not new taxes, but new tax payers. People that are working, paying their taxes and adding new revenue to government so that government can use that revenue not to grow government but to pay down the debt and put us on a sustainable path. That just seems to me to be the common sense approach to this. Instead we’ve got this President’s obsession with raising taxes. And, what bothers me the most about it is not just that it will kill jobs and is bad for our economy, what bothers me the most is there isn’t a single tax package out there that’s reasonable and realistic that would even put a dent on this debt crisis.

“People have no idea what you would have to raise the taxes to, just to begin to make a difference. And of course you never can raise it to that level because you won’t be able to collect them; people aren’t dumb enough to work for free. If you are going to tax all their money, they aren’t going to keep working. These are the things I just don’t get, and I wish we had done a better job earlier about outlining these choices to the American people.”

Sen. Rubio: By Every Measure, The President Has Made Things Significantly Worse

Rush Limbaugh: “Now a lot of Americans agree with every word that you’ve said and they’ve thought this for a long time. And a lot of Americans just have a tough time getting their arms around the fact that they’ve elected a man who’s leading the nation in this direction even after two and a half years of demonstrable failure. We couldn’t be more clear about how wrong and destructive these policies are. He wants to continue them and increase them and a lot of Americans can’t understand why – what, who is this man?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well here’s the problem. He has to be measured by an objective standard that every president has to be measured by. When I look at this election next year what he’s really going to be coming to the American people and asking for is an extension of his contract. He wants a four year extension to his contract to be President of the United States. But we have to measure him.

“And how do we measure him? Well, unemployment. Unemployment is higher than—significantly higher than when he took over. You know, what about the value of people’s homes? The values of peoples’ homes are down. How about the national debt? The national debt is up significantly higher, with no solution in sight, and none offered by him.

“By every measure that you can measure a president by, things have gotten worse and significantly worse. And that’s what he has to be measured by. And part of it, I think, is a flawed ideology, because I think his view of government and the people in his administrations is a flawed view that takes us away from the things that have made America exceptional.

“And part of it I think is quite frankly incompetence. I honestly believe – and I don’t say this with any disrespect, I really don’t know him, I have nothing personal against him, but I honestly think there’s a lack of confidence in terms of being able to do the job and the inability to lead on some of these critical issues. And the result is being paid by millions of Americans who can’t find a job, or are working twice as hard to make half as much, who see their country being bankrupted and no serious solutions being offered.”

Sen. Rubio: The Only Way To Generate Revenue Is To Create Jobs

Gretchen Carlson: “So I have seen your op-ed in which you say we’re being sold the wrong message that we need a balanced approach with regard to the debt talks. In what way?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, we do need a balanced approach. I think the President’s got the wrong balance. We can't possibly raise enough taxes, even if we wanted to, we couldn’t possibly raise enough taxes to even make a dent on the debt. The only way to generate revenue for government that’s enough so that we can make a run at this debt is to grow the economy to create jobs. That's what I mean when I say what we need are not new taxes, what we need are new taxpayers. What we need is job creation and more people working. More people working means more people paying taxes. The way you do that is through regulatory reform and by simplifying the tax code, you lower the tax rate for everybody by getting rid of many of these unjustified exemptions that are the result of good lobbying, not good public policy.”


Sen. Rubio: It’s Not Just About Balancing The Budget, It’s About Saving Entitlement Programs

Gretchen Carlson: “I don't know if you happened to hear the President yesterday before another round of debt talks, but he sounded like he was appealing to the independents out there. He said he’s not going to mind taking the heat from his own party, and if you believe the insiders, they’re saying that he was willing to raise Medicare age from 65 to 67. Do you believe him?”

Sen. Rubio: “Well, I don’t know what to believe. I haven’t been in those conversations. All I can tell you is that that's where the money is in terms of on the negotiations side and the spending side. And it's not just about balancing the budget. It's about saving the programs. Medicare is going bankrupt. Medicare can't continue the way it is now because it is going bankrupt. I think we need to save Medicare. It’s an important program, and anybody who is for leaving Medicare the way it is now, is for bankrupting Medicare.”

Sean Hannity: “You know, it was interesting to watch the tax chief Tim Geithner go “There is no credible argument, no -- no responsibility leader would say the United States of America for the first time in its history should not meets its bills or obligations.” There was a guy just back a couple years ago that was then-senator by the name of Barack Obama, that said it would be irresponsible to raise the debt limit, not live within our means and pass the burden on to our kids and grandkids. And he voted against raising the debt ceiling. So, was he talking about President Obama or the current members of Congress?”

Sen. Marco Rubio: “Well, you are right. When the President was a Senator he didn't vote to raise the debt limit. But look, we need to understand the problem. At its core, the problem is not the debt limit. The problem is we have a federal government that spends one-and-a-half trillion dollars more than it takes in. Basically, it borrows 40 cents out of every dollar that it spends. That’s the fundamental problem, and that’s what’s led to this debt situation that we have, this debt crisis. And the debt crisis is not that difficult to understand: we spend too much money and we don't take enough money in. How do you deal with the first part where we spend too much money? That's where you need a spending cap some spending reductions and balanced budget amendment. And now what do you do about not taking enough money in? That's where the President comes in and says we need to raise taxes. That’s where the rest of us, who understand how to solve this, say, ‘No, what we need to do is grow our economy and you can't do that if you are raising taxes.’ These taxes that the President wants to raise, not only do they do not solve the problem because all this class warfare that he’s using, the jets, oil companies and hedge fund managers, doesn't add up to enough to put a dent in the debt. But what it will do is kill job creation, which is what we need. You want to know why the government doesn't generate enough to pay its expenses? Because there are too many people who are unemployed, and there are too many people who are employed and not making as much as they once made. Hence, you’re not collecting as much in taxes that you can use to pay down your debt. We need jobs in America, and you’re not going to get them as long as the President of the United States has this tax obsession.”

Earlier today Senator Rubio held a field hearing in Pensacola examining oil spill recovery efforts. Constituents gathered with the Senator to listen to testimony from local and state officials, business owners and fishermen.

The hearing, held in the Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College, focused on the spill’s environmental and economic impact as well as problems with the BP claims process.

Panelists for the hearing included Agriculture Commissioner Adam H. Putnam, Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Chairman Collier Merrill, business owners Joe Gilchrist and Carlos Faught and National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) President Captain Bob Zales.