Marco Rubio Showcases Opposition to Patty Murray's and Paul Ryan's Budget Deal
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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., beat out U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to be former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 and now the two are pitted again on the federal budget even as both of them look toward running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
From his perch as U.S. House Budget Committee chairman, Ryan helped craft a budget agreement with Senate counterpart U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., which sets the federal budget at $1.012 trillion for the next fiscal year. Ryan and other supporters insist their proposed budget would reduce the federal deficit by $20-to-$23 billion.
“This agreement breaks through the recent dysfunction to prevent another government shutdown and roll back sequestration’s cuts to defense and domestic investments in a balanced way,” Murray said. “It’s a good step in the right direction that can hopefully rebuild some trust and serve as a foundation for continued bipartisan work.”
Ryan quickly made the rounds to defend the agreement, appearing on Greta Van Sustern’s show on Fox News Tuesday night.
“It's a deal that moves the ball in the right direction," Ryan told Van Sustern. “It cuts the deficit without raising taxes by cutting spending in smarter ways than the across-the-board approach. All of our members were worried about all the defense cuts. We are stopping the military from getting cutting further and we are cutting spending in smarter ways on auto pilot programs that have been untouched for years by Congress. And we're doing it in a way to make sure that there is no tax increases and that we actually lower the deficit versus doing nothing.”
Ryan also penned an op-ed defending the budget deal at conservative publication National Review’s website. The op-ed ran on Wednesday.
While some Republicans, including U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, supported the budget deal, some conservatives, including Rubio, showcased their opposition to it.
“We need a government with less debt and an economy with more good-paying jobs, and this budget fails to accomplish both goals, making it harder for more Americans to achieve the American dream,” Rubio said late on Tuesday after the deal was announced. “Instead, this budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans.
“In the short run, this budget also cancels earlier spending reductions, instead of making some tough decisions about how to tackle our long-term fiscal challenges caused by runaway Washington spending,” Rubio added. “I voted against sequestration because of its effect on key programs, including the defense budget, but higher spending and more revenue are not the appropriate ways to address that problem.
“The American people should not be asked to choose between a strong military and responsible budgets that encourage job creation and reduce debt,” Rubio said in conclusion. “They deserve better than this.”
Rubio continued to play up his opposition to the budget deal on Wednesday. Appearing on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s radio show, Rubio insisted the budget deal would lead to additional federal spending.
“This country has a very fundamental problem, where a growing number of Americans do not feel like they’re getting a chance to get ahead,” Rubio told Huckabee. “And even the people who have gotten ahead and are living the American dream are worried that their children will not get that chance. We need to respond to that. We need a government that creates less debt. We need an economy that’s creating more stable, middle-class jobs. And there are government policies that will further that. This budget does not do that. It has no long-term plan in place to deal with the very serious debt problem that threatens our future. And that’s my problem. It’s not just this budget – it’s this lack of long-term thinking around here. There are no long-term solutions apparently possible in Washington, and we are running out of time. That’s why I’ve become opposed to the deal they’ve come up with.
“I don’t think the sequester was the best way to reduce spending, but it’s certainly a lot better than continuing to let the debt grow or raise taxes,” Rubio added. “That was part of a budget agreement that was reached two years ago. We’re basically now walking away from that as a result of this. So I think we could have created more flexibility for the military to spend the money that it has. I think we could have looked for ways to perhaps replace the sequester on the military with some other cuts somewhere else because I think national security is important. But I think to walk away from the already agreed upon reductions in spending that were so difficult to achieve, I think opens the floodgates that really threaten to put us right back in these spending habits, and really we’re going to continue to have a government that spends more money than it takes in.”
Rubio also stressed his opposition to the budget deal in an email sent out Wednesday to supporters of Reclaim America, a PAC connected to the Florida Republican.
Other potential Republican presidential candidates also stressed their opposition to the deal. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., quoted a character from the “Popeye” cartoon to illustrate what’s wrong with the budget.
“There is a recurring theme in Washington budget negotiations. It's I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” Paul said on Wednesday. “I think it's a huge mistake to trade sequester cuts now, for the promise of cuts later.
"The small sequester spending cuts were not nearly enough to address our deficit problem,” Paul added. “Undoing tens of billions of this modest spending restraint is shameful and must be opposed. I cannot support a budget that raises taxes and never balances, nor can I support a deal that does nothing to reduce our nation's $17.3 trillion debt."
In going against the deal, Rubio stands at odds with his fellow senator from Florida.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is backing the deal. “We now have what amounts to be a major bipartisan budget deal, considering the gridlock that has gripped Congress in recent years,” Nelson said. “No one will love everything in this agreement. But we all should be able to compromise to get something done for the good of the country.”
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