Rubio: Only Obama Wants to Shut Down Government

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 01:51 PM

By Jim Meyers and John Bachman

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Republicans should do "anything and everything" to prevent the "disaster" of Obamacare, Sen. Marco Rubio tells Newsmax. But he insists it can be done without shutting down the government.

The Florida Republican asserts that President Barack Obama actually wants a government shutdown to achieve a "political win," and the administration is going to fight to the bitter end to defend its healthcare reforms.

Elected in 2010, Rubio is considered a rising star in the Republican Party. He delivered the GOP's response to Obama's State of the Union address in February and has been mentioned as a presidential candidate in 2016.

Special: Should Obama's Health Plan Be Defunded? Vote Here Now!

His committee assignments include the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Story continues below video.



In an exclusive interview Wednesday with Newsmax TV, Rubio discusses efforts to stop Obamacare and the possibility of a government shutdown.

"Every single member of the Republican conference agrees that Obamacare should be stopped, but the disagreement is about the tactic," he says. "I'm not in favor of shutting down the government. The president appears now politically to be in favor of shutting down the government.

"I'm in favor of funding the government at the levels that were agreed to last year in the Budget Control Act and not spending a single penny more of hardworking taxpayer dollars on a disaster, which is Obamacare.

"Actually, the administration has admitted it's a disaster because they've had to delay major portions of it. Labor unions that strongly supported Obamacare are now asking to be exempted from it.

"So we should be doing anything and everything we can to prevent this law from going into effect, because once it starts to hurt people, it's going to hurt our economy in ways that are very difficult to undo later."

The House will pass a plan to delay and defund Obamacare but to keep the government  open, Speaker John Boehner says.

"That's very positive news," says Rubio. "It's now going to call attention to the fact that we can keep the government open, we can fund the government, but we don't have to shut down the government, and we don't have to fund Obamacare.

"It's the president who's threatening to shut down the government because he is saying, and it's the position his allies in the Senate so far have taken, that unless they fund Obamacare, they won't fund the government.

"The president's basically looking for a political win, and I guess his political people have told him that this is a political win: shut down the government and blame the Republicans. The problem is that's not the Republican position."

Rubio predicted that the House will pass a short-term budget to keep the government running.

Special: Should Obama's Health Plan Be Defunded? Vote Here Now!

"If in fact the government shuts down, it will be unfortunately because the president and his allies believe that Obamacare is so important to them that they are willing to shut down the government over it.

"That's shortsighted, primarily because they are going to fight to the end to defend a disaster, something that even their own allies and labor unions are asking to be let out from."

What Rubio is most concerned about, regarding the lack of a federal budget, is the long-term economic health of the country.

"Here's what I know to be true: The American free-enterprise system is the only economic system in human history where anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything, where people through hard work and sacrifice can achieve a better life. It has eradicated more poverty than all the government programs in the world combined. That's what free enterprise does.

"One of the things that comes to mind in free enterprise is unpredictability about the future, because people are afraid to open up new businesses or expand existing ones or invest in new products and invent new things if they're uncertain about the future. This lack of a federal budget and the certainty about future spending worries people. It's holding growth back.

"So I would prefer to have a real budget. Unfortunately, for Democrats budgets are nothing but an opportunity to grow the size and scope of the government."

Rubio maintains that Mitt Romney could have won the presidential election in 2012 if Americans knew more about Obamacare.

"It's very difficult to go back in hindsight and analyze what would have happened, but it was a very close election, and certainly if people had known what they know now about the healthcare law" the election results might well have been different.

"We just had word this week in Sea World down in Florida that 2,000 people who work part time are going to lose hours from 32 hours to 28 hours. That's devastating for these families.

"This is the real world impact of Obamacare, and if that had been more apparent to people last November, there are a few people out there that would have voted differently and it's very possible that Mitt Romney right now would be in the White House and we'd have a much better outcome for our future."

As for Democrats' charge that Republicans have not offered an alternative to Obamacare, Rubio observes: "I actually don't think that's a very fair analysis. First of all, over 80 percent of Americans have healthcare coverage and most of them are happy with the coverage that they have. We do have a significant number of Americans that are uninsured for a variety of different reasons and that's what we should be focused on.

"But that's not what Obamacare does. Obamacare basically takes everybody, including people that are happy with their existing coverage, and lumps them all in together in this one-size-fits-all approach that's actually hurting people that are happy with their coverage and not doing much to help people that don't have coverage now."

Rubio has been a strong advocate for immigration reform, but there has been little talk of reform since Congress returned from recess.

Rubio says: "Obviously this is a difficult issue to deal with. We all agree that we have a broken legal immigration system, and, in particular, we don't have a merit-based immigration system, which is what our country desperately needs. We also have a very significant illegal-immigration problem.

"Where the debate is now is what's the best way to solve it.

"But I would also point out that there have been some other issues that are as important or more important that have overtaken it here in the short term. When you have the potential for war, as the Syria conflict raised last week, that's going to galvanize and cause a lot of attention to be paid.

"And then these budget fights are important and Obamacare is incredibly important. The national debt and the debt limit is going to be incredibly important. Those issues are time sensitive. Immigration's a big issue but these issues are bigger and that's why the focus is on those issues right now."

Special: Should Obama's Health Plan Be Defunded? Vote Here Now!


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