Rising GOP star Sen. Marco Rubio attacked President Barack Obama on Friday, accusing him of doing nothing to curb runaway government spending.
Florida's junior senator said reports that Obama is on the verge of asking for yet another hike in the debt ceiling prove he has no real plan to tackle spending.
Such a request would mark the sixth time in three years that Obama has asked for such a raise, Rubio pointed out in a scathing letter to the president.
“When you served in the Senate in 2006, you called raising the debt limit “a sign of leadership failure.” Using your own standard, this request will mark your sixth ‘sign of leadership failure’ on the debt ceiling issue alone,” he wrote.
“Throughout our history, Americans have revered courageous leaders and celebrated them as profiles in courage. Unfortunately, the first three years of your presidency have been a profile in leadership failure.
“While you may choose to run your re-election campaign against a ‘Do-Nothing Congress,’ your insistence on doing nothing to meaningfully tackle our debt poses a direct threat to America’s exceptional character and is leading us toward a diminished future.”
Obama is poised to ask Congress for a $1.2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling as the second part of the acrimonious deal worked out last summer.
Rubio, who is being touted as a possible Republican vice-presidential candidate, said he will vote against it unless it comes with meaningful spending reduction plans.
“Instead of making debt ceiling increases a routine Washington exercise, we need to make it routine to actually spend no more than we take in. Until then, I will oppose your request to continue borrowing and spending recklessly,” he wrote.
“I will oppose a debt ceiling increase unless such an authorization is accompanied by a real plan to tackle our debt. Ideally, such a plan would feature both pro-growth elements and spending restraints, including fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform, meaningful cuts to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security and Medicare.
“If we had done this in mid-2011 when we last debated the debt ceiling, we could have set America on a path to economic growth and prosperity. This would have led to more jobs and, in turn, to more duly employed taxpayers generating more growth-driven revenue to help us pay down our debt, ” he added. “Instead, you failed to lead, punted the tough decisions and, in doing so, our credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history.
“It's a tragic reality but, on your watch, more and more people have come to believe that America is becoming a deadbeat nation inevitably heading toward a European-style debt crisis.”
Rubio ended his letter by saying the country “deserves leaders who will stand front and center, level with the American people about our challenges and offer real solutions to solve them.
“Instead of simply asking for another debt ceiling increase, I urge you to come forward with a real plan to tackle our debt in 2012.”
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