Despite Working with Democrats in the Senate, Marco Rubio Slams Obama

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: November 17, 2011 3:55 AM
Barack Obama and Marco Rubio

President Barack Obama and Sen. Marco Rubio | Credit: Bill Ingalls - Geoff Holtzman - flickr

Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has been on Washington’s center stage this week, pushing a compromise jobs bill that he is backing with a Democratic senator -- but also lashing out at President Barack Obama’s record on the economy.

Rubio joined up with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., on Tuesday to introduce the American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Act and they spoke for the measure on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

The AGREE Act covers a number of areas, including eliminating some taxes on small businesses. The legislation would also extend the research and development tax credit until 2013, make the Alternative Simplified Credit permanent, while increasing it from 14 percent to 20 percent, and create a research credit to encourage manufacturers to hire more workers.

The AGREE Act would also create a tax credit for veterans that would come to 25 percent of the cost to establish a franchise up to $100,000. Rubio and Coons also looked to provide five-year exemptions for businesses that go public from Section 404(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley. The senators also looked to end the per-country limit of employment-based visas while increasing the number of family-based visas per country.

Both Rubio and Coons stressed the importance of working across party lines on the Senate floor.

“Let me just point out a couple (of) things before we begin, and that is that there are a lot of issues in this process that we're not going to agree on,” said Rubio. “And there is an ideological divide about a lot of major issues -- the role of government, how do we get the economy growing again and what government can do about it -- and the people of America recognize that. And they recognize that issues of that magnitude ultimately are solved at the ballot box. You elect people. People run for office on their competing visions of government's role and use it to decide those elections. And we're going to have one in November of 2012.

“But what do we do over the next 12 months? Do we just stand around and do nothing? Do we just stand around and continue to bring up pieces of legislation from both sides of the aisle that we know are going to fail, just to make political points? Or do we actually begin to act?” he continued. “Now, can government create jobs for them? In government. But by and large there are things government can do to help create an environment for job creation.

“And so what we have done is, we have sat down and we have analyzed what things have we agreed on,” Rubio said. “There are things that are in the president's plan that are also in the Republican plan that the House has passed, that our colleagues have filed.”

“The core principle, as Senator Rubio described, was for a real Republican and a real Democrat to look through all the different ideas that have been put out there in the president's jobs bill, by the president's Jobs and Competitiveness Council, by members of the Senate and the House from both parties that we could come to agreement on, and to put them into a bill packaged to assemble all of these ideas and put them out and hope that we will pick up co-sponsors, hope that it will pick up steam, and hope we can demonstrate to the American people, to the families that Senator Rubio and I have heard from in letters, emails and tweets who have expressed real concern,” said Coons.

Besides the speech, Rubio, who caught the attention of conservatives and rose to national prominence after driving out then-Gov. Charlie Crist in the Republican primary and beating him in the general election in 2010, launched a media blitz this week to praise the AGREE Act.


“I know people who have been out of work for a year,” Rubio said in an appearance on CNN’s “American Morning” on Wednesday. "They are hurting, and they are looking at us and saying, ‘Can you guys do anything?’ And they pay us every two weeks to do this job. We are not volunteers. This is our job, and we need to deliver.

"Now these are the things that we can get done, and I think three things will happen. No. 1, these are meaningful policies, especially for the small businesses, that will be helped by some of these measures that we are talking about. No. 2 is that, hopefully, people will look around and say, ‘That didn’t hurt too much, what else can we work on together?’ And No. 3, we hope it will send a message back home that, finally, some good news is coming out of Washington.”

Rubio and Coons hit CNN’s “The Situation Room," CNBC’s “Kudlow Report” and “Hannity” on Fox News on Tuesday and “American Morning” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday. But while Rubio was working with Coons in the Senate and on the airwaves, he also was taking aim at Obama.

In an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News on Tuesday, Rubio ripped into the president’s handling of the economy.

“If you look at the president's job performance, he's made everything worse,” Rubio said on the show. “I mean our country today, by every economic measure, is worse off than it was when he took over. And based on that, he can't run on his record and he shouldn't be re-elected. But he's going to raise more money than any candidate in the history of this country and he's going to spend it; and these guys, they know how to run campaigns. They're going to spend a lot of it in Florida. So that's going to make a competitive state more competitive than it should be, based on his record. And we need to be cautious of that and wary of that and understand that our nominee, whoever that is, needs to do a good job of creating a clear contrast from the president on jobs and the economy.”

Rubio also slammed comments Obama made over the weekend in which the president said Americans have been “lazy" about attracting foreign investment. Obama made the comment when he spoke at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Business Summit in Honolulu.

“Well, you know, I think he has it wrong. Unfortunately for us, you know, he's the president, but he's gotten that wrong,” Rubio told Hannity. “And here's the bottom line. Americans haven't forgotten how to create jobs. Americans haven't run out of good ideas. There are a lot of good ideas sitting out there on the sidelines waiting to go out and create jobs and grow our economy, but people are afraid to do so, because they think the worst is yet to come. They look at Washington and they get worried about the policies coming out of here.”

Rubio offered his thoughts on the 2012 election and said he expected Florida to be, once again, close in the general election.

“I think Florida voters, when it gets down to elections, it always narrows, and that's just the way it plays out,” he said. “But, secondly, I think the president is going to raise more money than anyone has ever raised before and he's going to spend a lot of that in Florida and then to try to win the election.”

Rubio brushed off talk that he could end up on the Republican ticket in 2012 as the vice presidential candidate. “Well, I have nothing further to add, other than what I've already said ...,” Rubio said.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

Comments (2)

11:29AM NOV 17TH 2011
Which do you think history will most note - that the depression caused by Bush policies was so severe that it took almost Obama's entire first term to start to reverse it, or the declared Republican strategy from day one of Obama's first term that they had to do everything in their power to defeat this President through the politics of "Just Say No to Everything" (or as the commenter put it so well below - "Compromise is NOT the answer")? Yes, that small mindedness is surely sinking this great nation, just as it's clearly sinking that Grand Old Party I once belonged to before this Tea Party nonsense.
Chris Q
7:25AM NOV 17TH 2011
Don't get me wrong. I love Marco Rubio. I did a fund raiser for him and would again. But this is nothing more than feel good legislation that continues the pattern of picking winners and losers while working on the fringes of our problem.

Compromise is NOT the answer. We must stick to the fundamentals and force radical reform or we will fail!

We need ALL businesses, not just high tech. We need to reduce and eliminate taxes and regulation that strangle growth and drives jobs to other countries.

Our real problem is SPENDING. We must reduce the role of government to free up our entrepreneurial energies and fire up the economic engine of America. We must take a machete to cut out unconstitutional, "spread the wealth," welfare programs that drain the self-respect from recipients while undermining the role of family and community.

I feel Senator Rubio's frustration in wanting to get something done. Collaborating with socialists and tinkering around the fringes is not going to work anymore. This is a complete waste of time and only extends the eventual depth and breadth of the failure of our country as we fail to address our real problems and listen to the lessons of our founding fathers.

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