Sen. Rubio: Democrats' 'Answer to Everything' Is Send a Check

Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 12:47 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The Democrats' response to nearly all major problems, including poverty and long-term unemployment, is to just send a check, Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday.

"[Writing a check] is the Democrats' answer to everything. And it shows you why, after 50 years, we still have 49 million people living in poverty," the Florida Republican told CNN's "New Day."

Rubio proposed a series of changes to transfer oversight of the welfare system from the federal government to the state level. He indicated there are states already that have initiated innovative programs for helping people out of poverty.

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"I know Washington, and its one-size-fits-all approach is not conducive to finding the kind of innovative solutions that it will take to deal with the complex underlying causes of poverty.

"However, if we take all the money that we spend now on federal poverty programs, put them into one federal agency, and then use that agency to transfer that money to states which are pursuing innovative programs to address things like hunger, ... education, and career training. In combination with each other, I think that's where you're going to get better results," Rubio said.

Rubio said he supported extending long-term unemployment benefits as long as there was a way to pay for them. Options for finding funds to offset costs could come from the defense budget or cutting fraud, but he said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would not allow lawmakers to vote on alternative proposals.

A check alone was not the answer to long-term unemployment, Rubio argued. He maintained the "only way to solve unemployment is employment."

"Our current unemployment program does nothing, nothing, to help people find a job and get employed," he said.

Assistance could include online training that could comprise resume preparation and job skills, he explained.

On income inequality, the focus should instead be opportunity inequality, Rubio told "Fox & Friends" on Thursday.

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The issue was not if a cashier at Burger King made less than the CEO, but if "that cashier gets stuck being a cashier for five, 10, 15, 20 years, and can't move up," Rubio said.

"I do think the issue of opportunity inequality is a real issue in America. And it's something we need to gap. Income inequality may give us an opportunity to talk about what the real problem is," he said.

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