Interview with Senator Marco Rubio

Interview with Senator Marco Rubio

By John King, USA - July 14, 2011

KING: Senator Rubio joins us now from Capitol Hill.

Senator, first, let me get you on the record here. Senator McConnell, your leader's plan, he calls it plan B or maybe it's plan Z, is it smart or is it surrender?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, first of all, I understand why he's doing it. And let's be fair, he's a minority leader and he's trying to position his caucus in the best way possible in case things don't work out.

It's not something I can support because I've clearly stated that I think this is an opportunity to solve the real problem here. And the real problem is not the debt limit, the real problem here is the debt, the fact that this country continues to spend 40 cents out of every dollar that it spends. And we have to do something about it.

Look at Ireland. Ireland has got downgraded. Their debt just got downgraded to junk. It wasn't because they refused to raise their debt limit, it's because they can't afford to pay back their lenders and that's what we're headed if we don't do something.

KING: That was a passionate case for deficit reduction, Senator. So, why, as some would ask -- or maybe this is a better way to put it -- do Republicans have a problem saying yes to that grander deal the president was willing to put on the table which would get you $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years for, yes, some revenue increases?

RUBIO: John, I've never seen that deal. I don't know if you have. I don't think the president has ever released anything other than what he's said at press conferences.

I've never seen paper on their deal. I've never seen him proposed a plan. I've always believed in a grander deal. I want to us do a lot of things. I outlined that three months ago when I said we need to do tax reform, we need to save Medicare and Social Security, we need regulatory reform, we need a spending cap, we need a balanced budget amendment.

I wanted us to do this months ago, and I continue to say this is a great opportunity to do something really meaningful for the future of our country, but our compromise has to also be a solution. It can't just be a compromise for the sake of avoiding this for another day.

KING: So, help us get to a solution then. And could Marco Rubio support any solution that included some new revenues or is that off the table?

RUBIO: No, I think there has to be new revenues. I think the debate is where does the new revenue come from? I think the new revenue comes not from new taxes, but from new taxpayers, from economic growth, from the addition of new jobs. And I think tax reform will get us there. I think there's broad bipartisan support for tax reform, for simplifying our tax code, for getting rid of things that are part of the tax code that are the result of good lobbying and not good policy.

But what -- our economy, number one, can't afford any tax increases right now. Number two, it wouldn't generate more revenue. And number three, it wouldn't solve the debt problem. The tax increases the president's talking about don't even buy us 10 days worth of deficit spending but they would kill a bunch of jobs. KING: So, what's the problem or maybe the question better put is who's the problem in the White House negotiations? Who to you need to change out maybe on both the Democratic and Republican side in your view to get this conversation headed toward a deal that's acceptable to you?

RUBIO: You know, I was talking to some of my colleagues today in the Senate, including some Democrats. I think on issues like tax reform, things that need to be done to save Medicare and Social Security, I think there exists some consensus. I don't know if politics is getting in the way or what it is. But honestly, we need to begin to teal with this right now.

I hope we can come up with something that's good for our country and deals with the debt once and for all.

KING: You're known as one of the new Tea Party-backed members, but you also have deep experience in legislative politics in the state of Florida. Would you walk across to the House side, to some of the Tea Party guys who may haven't held elective office before and say, you know what, we can find a reasonable, principled compromise here and you know what, it might include some revenues?

RUBIO: You know what? I think these reports that somehow the freshmen members in the House are against all the stuff are exaggerated and not true. I think there are plenty of House members, freshmen House members that stand where I stand, they're looking for a solution and a compromise but one that solves the problem, not one that makes it worse.

When the president says we have to raise taxes, otherwise we're not going to move forward, that would make things worse, not make things better.

But I think -- I think that stuff about freshmen in the House that won't vote for anything, I don't think that's true.

KING: Freshman Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, sir, we'll keep in touch. Appreciate your thoughts tonight.

RUBIO: Thank you, John.

KING: Thank you.


John King, USA

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