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Washington, D.C. —  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined A Business Minute with Lily López, hosted by The South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SFLHCC), to discuss the Senator’s bipartisan legislation to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent across the country, Rubio’s support for Amazon’s workers, the reintroduction of Rubio’s bicameral MMEDS Act, and the importance of small businesses. 

Below is a partial transcript. The full interview is available here.

On Daylight Saving Time:

“You know Lily, my biggest problem is no one can tell you why we keep doing it. Like why do we keep switching back and forth, there’s no logic for it. And so the first thing you say is well let’s stop the switching and then the next thing is you have to pick, you know, which one of the two do you want. 

...

“So for all those reasons, I just want us to pick one, and I hope it’s this one, and I want it to be permanent. I don’t think shifting back and forth makes any sense in the world. And no one can yet explain to me why we do it, why we go back and forth. 

Well it’s one of those weird things that has been gaining support. You know the more people think about it, the more they realize. So it’s a big enough issue to matter to people but everybody kind of feels guilty about making it a priority because we’re in the middle of COVID and so. Look, I think this is something that is going to happen, it’s just a matter of time now. I’m not sure President Biden has pronounced himself on it. President Trump had supported it, but I think we have bipartisan support. I know it’s a crazy time and a lot of things get thrown into a partisan issue. I can’t imagine Daylight Saving Time could possibly ever be made into a partisan issue. I just can’t imagine how you do that.”

On Rubio’s support for Amazon workers

Well my biggest problem with Amazon is two-fold. One is I think the company is way too big and I think anytime you have big companies like that it becomes very dangerous. You know, I don’t remember entirely all of this, but I’m old enough to sort of remember when I was a little kid only, there was only one phone company and they broke it up and today we see all the different choices that people have. We’re a country that has laws against monopolies and slowly but surely Amazon is becoming a monopoly. They’re now dominating... My second issue with Amazon is that it’s the largest company in the world. They have a labor dispute. And my view of it normally is, you know, I don’t have a long track record of having been involved in labor issues because I generally want labor and business to have a good relationship and I think no one wins when they don’t. They need each other. 

“But in this particular case, you have this enormous monopoly control. They use it to sort of establish cultural power, you know telling us what books they will sell and which books they won’t sell, censoring people. But then when they get in trouble, they want to go to Republicans and ask them to help them out with the union. And my view of it is, these people just want to make a few more dollars and hour. And the people that are disputing are people that just want to make a few more dollars an hour working for the richest company in the world, owned by the richest man in the world, and so I thought that was sort of an easy choice. 

“My preference would be that they would be able to work it out amicably. I think it’s always better. Generally, you know, most businesses have a good relationship with their employer because they can’t exist otherwise.”

On the reintroduction of Rubio’s MMEDS Act

“Part of it is that people don’t realize but many of the medicines that we take on a daily basis in this country for blood pressure, you name it, the basic, the active ingredient, we don’t make it in this country. In fact, we can’t make it in this country because we got rid of all the places that made it. And so we need to have that back. 

“We can’t be dependent on China for some of the most basic medicines that we have. So that’s a great business and it’s one that should be located in the U.S. Second, Puerto Rico has a history of making it until some tax changes were made. And so it took away the incentive to be able to do it back in the 1990s. 

“So my view of it is, this is a two for one, we get to bring an important industry back to the United States and we get to bring it to Puerto Rico or bring the incentive back so that it can be located in Puerto Rico to help its economy recover after all of the challenges they’ve faced over the past few years. 

“It makes all the sense in the world. Jenniffer Gonzáles, the Congresswoman from Puerto Rico, is my counterpart in the House on this bill. I actually think we might have a chance, I hope, to include it as part of the broader China bill. The bipartisan China bill that Democrats and Republicans are trying to work on because this is China-related but it ends up helping America and it ends up helping, in particular, Puerto Rico with getting their economy growing again.”

On the importance of small businesses

“Well I always worry because when people talk about the economy, you know, CNBC, Fox Business, and The Wall Street Journal, they solely focus on the stock market and the public trading companies. 

“But, the backbone of the economy, when you talk about small businesses, it’s a business that isn’t publicly traded. The owner, the sole employee, the accountant, the CEO, everything is one person or two people. So to me, that’s the backbone of the economy and it’s been a tough time. Depending on the industry you were in, like hospitality, you were the first ones to close and the last ones to open and you’re still not back to where you were. And all the jobs associated with it too.”

“It’s been a tough time. But there has to be a balance right. At some point you have to, like anything in life, there’s a cost benefit analysis to everything we do in life. When the cost of a total shutdown is higher than the benefit of the shutdown, from a health perspective, you know you’ve gotten the balance wrong. I think we’ve gotten the balance right in Florida. I think the results are in the numbers. Our numbers are better than New York and California and our economy is better off too.”