Sen. Marco Rubio tells Newsmax it is “hypocritical” for President Obama to blame Republicans for not canceling sequestration since the spending cut program was his idea.
The Florida Republican also charges that Obama’s solution to every problem is either a tax increase or a spending program.
And he declares that U.S. efforts to deal with climate change will destroy the economy and are futile because “America’s not a planet, it’s a country.”
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The first-term senator, a tea party favorite, is viewed by many of his Senate colleagues as a rising star in the Republican Party. He was chosen to deliver the official GOP response to Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
And in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, he responds to the president’s insistence that bigger government is better for America.
“It actually doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s an expansion of what he talked about in his inaugural address,” Rubio says.
“Here’s the bottom line: Presidents in both parties have understood that what made America’s middle class possible was the vibrant free enterprise system. The president thinks the free enterprise system is the cause of our problems. He thinks that we need to have a bigger government that’s more involved, and that’s why you saw last night that on issue after issue, every time he identified a problem in America, his solution was some sort of spending program or some new law.
“That’s an old idea. That’s been tried over and over again throughout the world and it has never achieved the kind of middle-class prosperity that Americans want.”
Rubio has said that Obama has an “obsession” with tax increases, and the president in his address spoke again about the need for higher taxes.
Rubio comments: “It’s pretty clear he wants tax increases as much as he can get them. For him, every solution to every problem is either a tax increase or a spending program.
“The problem is, as I outlined last night, there is no tax increase out there that’s going to create private sector jobs and there’s no realistic tax increase that can generate enough revenue to pay down the debt. The only solution to our problem is the combination of spending disciplines in the future and rapid economic growth, and that’s what we should be having a debate on.
“I hope the president will once and for all give up on his obsession with raising taxes and instead engage us in a conversation about how we can grow our economy the fastest way possible so we can grow our middle class and create more taxpayers, not more taxes.”
Rubio was asked about the best way to avoid sequestration and the cuts in defense spending it would impose, or should Republicans refuse to raise taxes and let sequestration happen.
“What’s going to happen is that he is fixed upon tax increases, but that’s a false choice. House Republicans have already not once but twice passed plans to avoid the sequestration, and they did so by replacing the sequester, which is kind of arbitrary across-the-board cuts that really hurt defense, with a very reasonable set of cuts that we need to do.
“But in the absence of that, we are not going to walk away from real cuts that have been agreed to. And for the president to attack us for refusing to cancel the sequester is hypocritical because the sequester was his idea. He came up with it and he insisted on it. And to say that the only way to avoid it is to raise taxes is a false choice. It can be avoided through reasonable cuts like the kinds that the Republicans in the House have passed.”
Obama also spoke about climate change in his address, but Rubio is critical of government efforts to deal with it.
“I just don’t think the government can change the weather,” he declares. “America’s not a planet, it’s a country.
“To the extent that manmade activity is contributing to some changes in our climate, that’s global. That’s not just the United States. We can’t control what China does, what India does, and other developing countries are doing.
“On the other hand, we can do a lot to destroy our economy, which is what cap and trade and things like that will do. It will raise the cost of energy, raise the cost of everybody’s electric bills, and raise the cost of everything from your food to the cost of products that you buy. It will make manufacturing unsustainable in America. It’s just a terrible idea. It will do nothing to improve our environment and it will destroy our economy.”
Obama also said in his speech that he is not reluctant to pursue his agenda via executive orders.
“We know that’s true,” Rubio observes. “He’s already done that.
“We need to continue, if necessary, to take it to the courts. You saw his recess appointments were recently thrown out by a court. That was the right decision. We’re going to have to continue to challenge some of those decisions that he made.
“But ultimately it’s very telling that the president has to work outside the realm of the Constitution to get his agenda done, because there are even Democrats here in Washington that will not go along with some of his ideas because they are so far out there.”
Rubio is introducing education legislation today, including a school voucher program. He tells Newsmax: “I’m proud of that. In Florida we have a corporate scholarship program where corporations, in lieu of paying state corporate tax, can make a contribution to a qualified scholarship organization that helps parents send their kids to the school of their choice. We’re just expanding that to the federal level.
“We’re creating a federal corporate tax credit where in lieu of paying corporate taxes, a corporation can give up to $100,000 a year to a qualified scholarship organization so that organization can in turn help needy students and their parents pick a school of their choice and pay for the cost of attending that school.”
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