Sen. Marco Rubio lambasted Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s attempt to brand Republicans as extreme for wanting to cut $30 billion more from the budget.
On the contrary, the only thing extreme — “insane,” actually — is spending money the country doesn’t have, as Democrats are inclined to do, the Florida Republican told Newsmax.TV during an exclusive interview in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.
The freshman senator was commenting on Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer’s remarks urging other Democrats to label Republican spending cuts as extreme at every opportunity. Schumer, of New York, didn’t realize reporters could hear him coaching fellow Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin, and Thomas Carper.
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During the conference with reporters Tuesday, reporters heard Schumer say, “I always use the word extreme. That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”
“I think what’s extremist is to continue to spend money we don’t have,” Rubio said. “Not only is it extremist, it is insane. I just feel terrible for our children and our grandchildren who are at school today and who have no idea that people up here who are supposed to be working for them are basically throwing away the future.”
The tea party favorite also declared in a Wall Street Journal column Wednesday that he will “vote to defeat an increase in the debt limit unless it is the last one we ever authorize and is accompanied by a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”
According to projections by the Treasury, the U.S. government is expected to hit its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling between April 15 and May 31. If Congress does not approve an increase to the limit, the federal government could default on its bonds for the first time in history, and Social Security and Medicare checks would likely see delays as a result of the government's inability to make payments to agencies.
Like the tea-party Republicans rebelling against their leadership in the House over a proposed deal to prevent a government shutdown, Rubio is making it clear that he's not in the Senate to play ball with the moderates.
"We cannot continue on this road," Rubio told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Tuesday night. "Here's what the critics are going to say: 'Well, we don't have enough time to do all of that.' That's not true. These ideas have been around here for a long time. Everyone knows exactly what needs to be done. The problem is they don't want to do it."
On ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday, Rubio said that he wants a final budget for the current fiscal year that comes close to the House bill that trimmed $60 billion in spending. Democrats say they are offering a $30-billion compromise, daring Republicans to oppose it.
Rubio called the current budget debate strictly small-time: "We're having all of this discussion about how we're going to spend money over the next six months, but the real debate needs to be about how we're going to spend money over the next 60 years, and that's that debt-limit debate," he said on the ABC program.
The Cuban-American is also showing his foreign policy bonafides, alleging that President Barack Obama was slow to act in against Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi but added that U.S. efforts will be successful.
“I wish he had been more decisive weeks ago, the cost would have been less, the outcome more certain and our leverage a lot higher,” he explained. “With that being said I think we are going to be successful in terms of degrading Moammar Gadhafi’s ability to carry out genocide, but I just wish he had acted sooner.”
And while he appears on some 2012 dream lists for president -- a "conservative Obama" some have labeled him -- Rubio insists he is not even considering a second spot on any ticket.
“I’m not running for president in 2012,” the tea-party-backed star told ABC, Politico reports. “I want to be United States senator. I want to be the best United States senator that Florida’s ever had. I just got elected three months ago. So how can I be a full-time United States senator if my eye’s already on something else?”
Just speculating about a run creates problems, Rubio said. “When you speculate about it, what you’re basically saying is, I’m thinking about something other than the job that I have before me.”
To be sure, Rubio didn’t rule out the possibility of running as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate during the ABC interview, although Newsmax has noted his denials in the past.
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