Sen. Marco Rubio says he's not voting for a debt reduction deal "that kills jobs" with tax increases and he blames both parties for pushing the country to the brink of the fiscal cliff.
In interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto Tuesday evening, the Florida Republican says he still can't figure out why Republicans and Democrats "created this artificial crisis to force action" on reducing the budget deficit.
"I voted against it because it was a bad idea," he said of the 2011 Budget Control Act, which mandates a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases beginning on Jan. 2 unless Congress moves to stop them.
"Why did they create this artificial crisis as a way to force action? It never works . . . And now the country is going to be hurt."
Rubio, who is being touted as a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said passing the control act was bad enough, but now he says both sides seem to be poised to make things works by striking a deal that could be a drag on the economy.
"Now what they are basically saying is, now let`s hurt growth in America. Let`s cut a deal that hurts growth in America so that a year from now we will have an even worse fiscal cliff," he said, adding that he believes that the tax rate increase on higher income earners pushed by President Barack Obama will cost at least 200,000 job losses next year.
"The people who vote for that will be responsible for that decision and they will be held accountable for that terrible public policy," Rubio continued, adding: "I am not voting for anything that kills jobs."
The senator said the American people would be better served if Congress and the president would move immediately "to simplify our tax code, but not as a way of generating revenue, as a way of making our tax code more growth-friendly."
He said the president's plan to increase taxes on people making $250,000 or more will only end up hurting those who work for small businesses, including everything from dental clinics to law firms. The increased taxes on their owners, he said, would lead to layoffs as budgets tighten.
"These are not millionaires and billionaires. These are working-class folks that may lose their jobs as part of the 200,000 jobs that will be lost if the president's tax increase goes through," Rubio said.
"If that happens, Barack Obama will be responsible for it. But I will not be complicit in hurting growth in America, which I know is the only way to solve this problem."
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