Florida freshman Sen. Marco Rubio, who waited five months before giving his first official Senate speech Tuesday, stressed a sense of urgency to fix a government that is broken.
Rubio told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren later in the day it is not a question of which party controls the government, but what kind of country America will be in the 21st century.
“Our people are as great as they've ever been — Americans haven’t forgotten how to create jobs or [have] run out of ideas,” Rubio told Van Susteren. “But we do have a broken government — our tax code is complicated and burdensome and difficult to predict, so people are scared to invest. Our regulations are strangling job creators. The hoops of trying to start a business in America are significant.
“And this national debt is a serious issue — every week it gets worse. Look at unemployment numbers. Look at how the economy has gotten worse,” he said. “Respectfully, the things the president has done, the things that the Democratic leadership have advocated, these things are not working. Our government is broken and we have to reverse course.”
Van Susteren noted that getting anything done is Washington is difficult in the best times, and in the present fiscal climate it is even harder to maneuver.
“One of the reasons we are not making progress: too many people in Washington in both parties that concluded that the next election is more important than the next generation,” Rubio said. “We have to have a sense of urgency about what we are facing.
“The point of my speech is America has been phenomenal, particularly in the 20th century — it was the American century. The 21st century can be that as well, but we have to do it. It is not going to happen on its own,” he continued. “We have to understand that what is at stake is not who controls the House, Senate, or the White House — what is at stake [is] what kind of country we are going to have in this new century. It can be better than the 20th century. But we have to do it. If people understand the stakes, that will motivate them to take action.”
Van Susteren asked whether Rubio would be disappointed if a year from now his hopes for America are cast astray. In reply, Rubio focused on the old, cumbersome way Congress conducts business.
“I will be disappointed — I’ve already been disappointed,” Rubio said. “I’ve been here five and a half months and we haven’t done anything . . . I think it is politics. There's a strategy. They are trying to wait until the last second and force something down our throat.
“The other part, they want to use it as a weapon. They want to focus on issues they can use to win elections,” he said. “Proof of what I’m saying: too many think elections are more important than the future of our country — and it is not.”
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