Marco Rubio Runs from Obama on Earned Income Tax Credit
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Despite being cited by President Barack Obama in the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said he had major differences with the White House on the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Obama mentioned the Florida Republican in the State of the Union address and said there was common ground between them over the Earned Income Tax Credit.
“There are other steps we can take to help families make ends meet, and few are more effective at reducing inequality and helping families pull themselves up through hard work than the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Obama said. “Right now, it helps about half of all parents at some point. But I agree with Republicans like Senator Rubio that it doesn’t do enough for single workers who don’t have kids. So let’s work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, and help more Americans get ahead.”
Rubio appeared on Michael Medved’s national radio talk show Wednesday to quickly clear up their positions.
“I believe that Senator Rubio was the only Republican who was mentioned by name in the president’s speech last night,” Medved said. “He referred to Speaker Boehner who was standing right behind him, but didn’t mention his name. He did mention the name ‘Marco Rubio.’ What did you think when that happened, senator?”
Rubio believes Obama was right to bring up the issue but contends there are differences between where they stand on the matter.
“I think it’s important the issue he’s identifying, we just have a different idea about how to do it,” Rubio said. “He’s talking about people that, ‘They’re struggling to get ahead in our economy because of low wages.’ And his idea is to expand the existing Earned Income Tax Credit to reach those folks.
“The problem I have with that is that the Earned Income Tax Credit, as it’s currently structured ... is not the best way to deliver that assistance. And secondly, it’s filled with fraud,” Rubio continued. “We’ve seen instances now of multiple cases of fraudulent behavior, people accessing that tax credit through fraud. So the proposal we have, that we’ve proposed, called the Wage Enhancement, is a better way to deliver the same benefit and we hope that we’ll move in that direction. So, I think we’ve identified the same issue, but his prescription for it seems to be more of the same. And that’s problematic.”
Despite Obama saying he agreed with Rubio on the issue, the Florida Republican had harsh words for the State of the Union address in general.
“Americans deserve more opportunities to achieve a better life, and that’s going to require a free-enterprise economy that’s creating more middle class jobs and a government with less debt,” Rubio said Tuesday night after the president's speech. “While the president discussed some areas of common interest, the heart of his 2014 agenda is clearly more about working alone than with the American people’s representatives on the major reforms we need.
“President Obama missed an opportunity on several fronts, especially by insisting that Washington keep spending more money than it takes in, keep dictating to entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, and failing to level with the American people about how we can save our retirement programs,” Rubio added. “We need a real opportunity agenda that helps people seize the enormous potential that the coming years hold.”
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