WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - He is the new darling of the Republican Party and Miami's U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, is ready for a fight. He talked with WPTV in our West Palm Beach studios Friday. Growing political feuds were on his mind.
Republicans want $30 billion more in federal budget cuts for the remainder of this year. Without a deal a government shutdown could happen next Friday. It is one Democrats have warned could delay Social Security checks and cause many other headaches.
Rubio countered, "The Democrats risk a government shutdown because they refuse to pass a budget and enter in good faith negotiations."
The fights will get bigger soon when there has to be a vote on Capitol Hill on whether to raise the nation's debt ceiling so the country can keep borrowing money and pay its bills. That debt is now $14 trillion. Rubio says he won't vote to raise the debt ceiling without a lot in return.
He said, "It has to be the absolute last time we ever do it. It has to come accompanied with things like tax reform, like getting these regulatory agencies off our backs. It has to come with a balanced budget amendment. It has to come with spending caps."
Rubio says entitlement reform is a must too, though he vows not to touch the benefits of current retirees or those within 10 years of retirement.
Democrats argue Republicans are making demands that can't be met in short order and that politicians like Rubio run the risk of sparking a global financial crisis if the U.S. defaults on its debts.
Rubio counters, "If the United States Congress simply goes in there and raises the debt limit another trillion or two trillion dollars and does nothing else that could very easily trigger a crisis as well. What it will show is that despite all the talk and all the noise and the yapping people did during the campaign, when they got to Washington, D.C. they are doing nothing about the fact this country spends money it does not have."
The conventional wisdom is that cool heads will prevail and a budget compromise will be reached but that is no certainty given the toxic political mood. The fight has really only just begun.