Rubio: “The truth is, this isn’t about shutting down the government. This is about shutting down ObamaCare. This is because it’s hurting people and it’s hurting the American dream. And you know, the argument we’ve made this week is that this law is so bad because it’s hurting people who are trying to make it.”
Interview on FOX News’ “On The Record With Greta Van Susteren”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
September 26, 2013
Note: Transcript as published on www.FOXNews.com.
FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren: “So predict. Are we going to have a government shutdown or not? How do you see this playing out?”
Senator Marco Rubio: “I hope not. I don’t know anybody -- certainly, I don’t know of any Republicans in favor of a government shutdown. The only one who’s obsessed with a government shutdown and keeps talking about it is the president and Senator Reid. I mean, they seem obsessed with this, and because they keep warning that they’re going to shut down the government if ObamaCare is touched.
“The truth is, this isn’t about shutting down the government. This is about shutting down ObamaCare. This is because it’s hurting people and it’s hurting the American dream. And you know, the argument we’ve made this week is that this law is so bad because it’s hurting people who are trying to make it.
“People who have made it, they’re going to be able to deal with ObamaCare. They don’t like it. They shouldn’t have to deal with it, but they can afford to deal with it. They can get lawyers to help navigate it and lobbyists to help them get waivers.
“But the people who are trying to make it, who are trying to start a business, or if you’re working full-time and now are being moved to part- time, or if you’re working part-time and now you’re losing your hours, these are the people that are really going to be hurt by this. And it isn’t fair. It’s wrong.”
Van Susteren: “Is it realistic that if you get defunded by this continuing resolution in recognition of who has the majority in both houses, or is it -- and is it realistic to think that it could be defunded with the debt ceiling debate?”
Rubio: “Well, first of all, it is realistic that it could be defunded if four Democrats or five change their mind. The problem is that they’re so locked into it. You have Democrats, by the way, that are from states where Mitt Romney was. So I can tell you ObamaCare is not popular in those states.
“But they’re so afraid of the left-wing base of their own party, they’re so afraid being attacked by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, that they can’t -- they can’t even express their sentiments about ObamaCare.
“Just today, one of my colleagues here said that he would be open to delaying it for a year. He got attacked by all the left-wing blogs and...”
Van Susteren: “Who’s that? Who’s that?”
Rubio: “I believe it was Senator Manchin, said that if it came up for a chance to delay the individual mandate for a year, he’d be in favor of it. It’s a very reasonable approach, especially when one thinks about the state he represents and their feelings about ObamaCare. And you saw the reaction from the left was almost immediate.
“So again, there’s a lot of pressure on some of these Democrats from the left-wing base of the party. And ObamaCare has become almost, in their minds, like the holy grail. You can’t touch it. You can’t fix it. You can’t deal with it. You can’t do anything about it. The only one who’s allowed to ignore and make changes to ObamaCare is Barack Obama, in their eyes.”
Van Susteren: “Well, you know, it’s sort of a sad commentary. I mean, this is an important issue, regardless of which side you’re on. But it also is like a schoolyard. I mean, Senator Harry Reid has said it’s a charade. He says it’s subterfuge. He’s demonizing the Tea Party. I mean, it really has gotten sort of rugged on the floor.”
Rubio: “Well, again, look, I mean, they’ve been saying those things for years. Just yesterday. a well known commentator in American politics said that the Tea Party is racist. I mean, these are ridiculous accusations from some people that should know better and are supposedly responsible journalists.
“But let me just back and say this. Nothing has happened this week outside the norm. These are the rules of the Senate that allows a senator to stand up on the floor and to speak until they don’t want to give the floor up.
“The truth is that Senator Cruz stopped speaking yesterday. We haven’t had any significant votes since then. So the bottom line is that nothing here has been slowed down by this. But certainly, the American people are more aware today than they were 24, 48 hours ago about why ObamaCare is so bad and the dangers of it.
“And now everyone here will have to vote and they’ll have to explain -- if they vote against defunding ObamaCare, when this thing goes through and it starts hurting people, like it already is, they’re going to have to explain to their constituents why they voted for this and why they keep funding it.”
Van Susteren: “Well, it’s going to be slowed down a little bit because Senator Reid wanted to fast track it tonight, and Senator Mike Lee said that he would vote against -- against this, so they can’t get unanimous consent to move it forward. So it’s slowed down a little bit.”
Rubio: “Well, the vote will be tomorrow. I think the point that they were trying to make is that they would -- you’re going to vote on it at 8:00 o’clock tonight while everybody is off, you know, paying attention to something else. What they’re asking is for the vote to be tomorrow during normal, regular business hours, so the American people can see how their representatives and how their senators voted.”
Van Susteren: “You know, I don’t know how people, you know, across the country -- I don’t like to speak for them. You know, they can speak for themselves. But it is sort of curious to me, is sort of this mad rush now as though this is so important. And it is because the deadline’s coming up September 30th.
“But the fact is, is that everybody knew September 30th was going to be rolling around. We knew it before everyone went on the five-week vacation in August. And in fact, the continuing resolution is because politicians hadn’t done their work on the budget. I mean, so the -- so the whole idea that there’s this mad rush really has been brought upon the House and the Senate by themselves.”
Rubio: “You know, it’s curious. Almost every political process is like that. I mean, even at the state level, they have deadlines for passing their budgets. In many states, you don’t see any movement on it until the end. Sometimes, it’s human nature to just leave it for the last minute. I would prefer...”
Van Susteren: “But that’s a bad human nature.”
Van Susteren: “That’s a lousy one!”
Rubio: “It’s not the best way to run the most important economy on the planet. It’s not the best way to run the most important government on the planet in terms of its impact on the most important economy on the planet. It’s not the ideal way to do it.
“And it’s just not -- but here’s one that’s even scarier. We know that we have a future debt crisis awaiting us. We know that. We know that if we keep doing what we’re doing now, we don’t know when it’s going to be, but it is going to happen. There will be a debt crisis. There’s no lack of urgency -- there’s a lack of urgency about that. (INAUDIBLE) asking let’s just raise the debt limit again and let’s not make any structural changes to the programs that are causing that debt to grow so fast.
“There’s just no urgency about it. There’s this notion that we can just let it keep going. That’s ridiculous!”
Van Susteren: “President Obama said he’s not going to negotiate on spending cuts for the debt ceiling. Speaker Boehner has said that, you know, he -- that he -- you know, that he wants the structural changes, some changes. So what happens with the debt ceiling come next...”
Rubio: “Well, we don’t...”
Van Susteren: “Or actually, the 17th...”
Rubio: “... unknown. I can’t predict. I don’t have a crystal ball in that regard. But I think it’s ironic that the president basically says he will not discuss anything to do with the debt or -- and any sort of linking the debt limit to any another conversation.
“The debt limit is a warning to us. What he’s basically saying is that if we don’t give him the authority to borrow more money, we can’t fund the operation of the government. That’s an admission that this government cannot operate without borrowing money! That alone is an indictment of the situation today! And the president is saying, I’m not going to do anything about changing that trajectory? That’s -- I mean, that’s a ridiculous position to take!”
Van Susteren: “Then why does he take that position? Do you think it’s his -- you know, it’s his philosophy and his passion, his ideology, or do you think they’re political –”
Rubio: “I’ll tell you why. He has a base of this party that does not believe that the debt is a problem. They’re more wedded to the idea of government spending than they are worried about a debt crisis. They believe the government and big government solves our problems. They believe economic growth and prosperity is the result of big government.”