Marco Rubio on Government Reform

Republican Florida Senator


Sanctions against Russia for interfering in 2016 election

Q: Do you agree with the intelligence community's report on Russian election interference?

RUBIO: I think their assessment of 2016 is 100% accurate. The Russians interfered in our elections. Not only that, I believe that will do so again in the future. And it presents a unique situation. On the one hand, the Trump administration's policies on Russia have been tougher than anything anyone could have imagined. They provided offensive capabilities to Ukraine. Their sanctions have exceeded what many in Congress have even asked for.

Q: But Trump seems incongruous on Russia. His comments don't match that.

RUBIO: Right. The rhetoric can undermine policy. But we need to focus on now is deterring future attacks by putting in place immediate sanctions that take hold if they do this again.

Q: And you have got a bill proposing something along those lines?

RUBIO: Yes. We should never be tolerant of any country in the world coming into our own country and trying to pit us against each other.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Jul 22, 2018

Next president should appoint in mold of Justice Scalia

Nominating judges is one of the president's most important responsibilities, and in 2016 the question of whom the next president will choose to defend the Constitution is more important than ever. The next president will probably appoint at least two Supreme Court justices. These appointments will shape the Court--and our country--for decades to come.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website MarcoRubio.com , Mar 1, 2016

The Constitution is not a living and breathing document

Q: You have said that religious liberty will trump even the ability of people to stay away from same-sex marriages, not provide flowers, not provide baked goods, etc.

RUBIO: The next president of the United States has to fill this vacancy of Justice Scalia -- in the history of the republic, there has never been anyone better than him at standing for the principle that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document -- it is supposed to be applied as originally meant. And the next president of the United States has to be someone that you can trust and believe in to appoint someone just as good as Scalia -- plus there may be at least two other vacancies. I have a doubt about whether Donald Trump, if he becomes president, will replace Justice Scalia with someone just like Justice Scalia.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

No to a simple majority to confirm a Supreme Court justice

Q: You were once in favor of dropping the threshold majority -- you were never in favor of that?

A: No, I've never [been in favor]. Today, appellate judges can now be appointed by a simple majority, but not Supreme Court justices. I think today you see the wisdom of why we don't that want to change. Because if that were the case and we were not in charge of the Senate, Harry Reid and Barack Obama would ram down our throat a liberal justice.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

I will reverse US decline, both at home and abroad

People live paycheck to paycheck. Our culture's in trouble. Around the world, America's reputation is in decline. Our allies don't trust us, our adversaries don't fear us. These are difficult times, but 2016 can be a turning point. If you elect me, we are going to re-embrace free enterprise so that everyone can go as far as their talent and their work will take them.
Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

I will repeal all of Obama's executive orders

In 2008, we elected a president that didn't want to fix America. We elected a president that doesn't believe in the Constitution. We elected a president that is weakening America on the global stage. We elected a president that doesn't believe in the free enterprise system. This election has to be about reversing that damage. On my first day, we are going to repeal all his unconstitutional executive orders. When I'm president, we are getting rid of Obamacare and rebuilding our military.
Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

Mainstream media is a SuperPAC for Democrats

Donald TRUMP: SuperPACs are a disaster. They're a scam. They cause dishonesty. And you better get rid of them.

RUBIO: The Democrats have the ultimate SuperPAC. It's called the mainstream media. For example, last week, Hillary Clinton admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, "Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements." It was the week she got exposed as a liar, but she has her super PAC helping her out, the American mainstream media.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Regulatory agencies shouldn't write criminal law

Congress must rein in out-of-control regulatory agencies. It should stop delegating additional criminal lawmaking authority to regulators. The public has long understood the burden unaccountable regulators place on business & ordinary Americans. In many cases, regulations have become more consequential than the statutes that they purportedly execute. It is for this reason that I have proposed that Congress establish a national regulatory budget, which would require that new, costly regulations be offset by the repeal of other existing regulations. I have also joined many of my colleagues in supporting legislation that would require congressional review of major regulations. It is time we apply similar attention to regulations with criminal implications: Regulations should be reviewed by Congress and potentially offset by the simplification and repeal of older regulations. Better still, Congress in the future should refuse to delegate new criminal lawmaking authority to unelected regulators.
Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 96-7 , Apr 28, 2015

Conservatives must show they have real solutions to poverty

For conservatives especially, this is a defining moment. The failure of government-centered, command-and-control liberalism to lift the poor and sustain the middle-class is apparent as never before. Whether we are able to step forward with our own solutions--and not simply rail against the expansion of the state--will determine our future as a movement.

Like most liberals, Obama doesn't understand the real causes of the erosion of equal opportunity we are experiencing today. He has raised taxes, increased regulations and taken over health care--all according to the outdated liberal theory that Americans struggle when government doesn't tax the rich enough and spend on the poor enough.

Source: American Dreams, by Marco Rubio, p. 10 , Jan 13, 2015

Government has a role, but it is not giving poor money

Government can play a role in our success, of course. The rule of law, infrastructure, access to quality education and a pro-growth tax and regulatory code help create the environment for prosperity. This is the proper and important role of government in making free enterprise work. But what liberals believe goes well beyond this limited role. They believe that government doesn't just create the environment for prosperity; they believe it is its primary driver. And they believe that the one the thing struggling Americans need or want most is a government check.
Source: American Dreams, by Marco Rubio, p. 18 , Jan 13, 2015

More government breeds complicated rules & holds us back

More government isn't going to help you get ahead. It's going to hold you back. More government isn't going to create more opportunities. It's going to limit them. And more government isn't going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs.

It's going to create uncertainty. Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can't afford to follow. Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay and even layoffs. And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead.

Now does this mean there's no role for government? Of course not. It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life. But government's role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it can't play its essential role when it ignores those limits.

Source: GOP Response to 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Choose more freedom instead of more government

We are all just a generation or two removed from someone who made our future the purpose of their lives. America is the story of everyday people who did extraordinary things. A story woven deep into the fabric of our society. Their stories may never be famous, but in the lives they lived, you find the living essence of America's greatness. To make sure America is still a place where tomorrow is always better than yesterday, that is what our politics should be about.

The story of our time will be written by Americans who haven't yet been born. Let's make sure they write that we did our part. That in the early years of this new century, we lived in an uncertain time. But we did not allow fear to cause us to abandon what made us special. We chose more freedom instead of more government. We chose the principles of our founding to solve the challenges of our time. And because we did, the American Miracle lived on for another generation to inherit.

Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech , Aug 30, 2012

Accused of using campaign funds for personal expenses

I decided to run to be Florida's speaker of the House, and from the start I made a series of terrible blunders. I decided Jeanette and I would manage the fund-raising and reporting for the campaign committee ourselves. That decision proved to be a disaster.

I often used my or Jeanette's personal credit cards to pay for many of the campaign's expenditures. I would spend hours trying to figure out which expenses were political, and which were personal. Jeanette, as the committee's treasurer, had to jog my memory to determine which credit card purchases were campaign expenditures, sometimes weeks after I had made them. It was an imperfect accounting system, to say the least.

Years later, my lack of bookkeeping skills would come back to haunt me. The press and Gov. Crist raised the matter during my US Senate campaign, implying I had pocketed money from my finance committee & used it to pay for personal items. It wasn't true, but I had helped create the misunderstanding my opponents exploited.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.126-127 , Jun 19, 2012

Used earmarks early in legislative career, then stopped cold

Rubio embraced the tenets of the Club of Growth, which eventually became one of his largest sources of campaign donations. Still, it took a while for the doctrine of low spending and small government to take hold. During his early years in the legislature, he made heavy use of earmarks, which are often considered pure budget pork. In 2001 he asked for a total of $101 million for 72 projects. The next year he requested $43 million for 37 earmarks. There was money for autism treatment, flood mitigation, brain and spinal cord injury research; but there were also small, less vital sounding projects such as money to design the restoration of an historic home and to build a picnic shelter. Only 4 lawmakers in Florida's 120-member house sought more money.

But then he stopped. Cold.

In 2003 he made nary a penny of earmark requests. And he wouldn't seek a single one for the rest of his tenure in the state house. Later, Rubio would campaign against earmarks during his run for Senate.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.106-107 , Jun 19, 2012

2003: Anonymous contributors; 2004: backed down & disclosed

The secrecy of campaign donor lists was contrary to the state's spirit of open government, and after much public outcry the law was reformed in 2004 to require more disclosure. In 2003, while Rubio was running for speaker, some lawmakers were voluntarily disclosing the names of their donors. Rubio initially defended keeping contributors anonymous, saying, "It makes people feel comfortable." But with public outrage about committees increasing, he backed down, announcing that he would reveal the names of his donors at the next filing deadline. When the names were unveiled, the public discovered that Rubio had received a $50,000 lump sum from a political group run by Alan Mendelsohn, a politically active eye doctor from Broward County. The donation matched the size of the largest single donation received by any of the committees. It wasn't the last time that Mendelsohn would pitch in to help Rubio.
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.112 , Jun 19, 2012

$400,000 for Members-only House lunchroom kept out lobbyists

Rubio had preached a gospel of fiscal conservatism, but some of his first acts as speaker were to spend a lot of money. [For example], he dedicated nearly $400,000 to office renovations and to build a members-only dining room.

Rubio could be impulsive, and it was as if he hadn't thought through the way his actions would be perceived. His reasons for the spending were not entirely without merit, but he had misjudged the reaction. Newspaper editorials ripped into him for contradicting his rhetoric.

Counterintuitively some of the spending was the result of changes designed to clean up Florida government and prevent lobbyists from buying votes. In previous years lobbyists swarmed the capitol, lining up lunch dates with lawmakers. The lobbyists, of course, picked up the tab. Lobbying reforms changed all that. "Once you couldn't get your free lunch anymore, immediately the members' lunchroom became overcrowded. The remodeling was more of a practical thing," [one legislator] said.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.128-129 , Jun 19, 2012

Constitutional term limit amendment for Members of Congress

In a vote this afternoon, Rubio supported a measure proposed by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) expressing the Sense of the Senate that a constitutional term limits amendment for Members of Congress should be approved.

"No elected official is so good that they're irreplaceable, and having term limits will ensure that our legislative branch is continuously infused with new people and ideas," Rubio said. "We have term limits in Florida, and I saw the benefit of having our legislators serve for a limited time and then return home to live under the laws they crafted.

"Term limits are long overdue in Washington, and I am proud to have upheld my campaign promise to Floridians by voting for Senator DeMint's term limits measure today."

Source: Rubio Senate office Press release, "Term limits" , Feb 2, 2012

America is greatest country; but not our government

While there have been many great countries in the past, how many were so bold as to declare themselves the "greatest country"? Very few that survived, anyway.

Yet for well over 200 years, generations of American have proudly--and rightly--made this claim. This bold statement rings just as true today, and Americans remain just as great as we have ever been. But the same cannot be said for our government.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 36 , Jan 10, 2012

Reduce paid petition business in citizen initiative process

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio , Nov 1, 2006

Texas Sunset Review abolished 47 agencies; do same in FL

Agencies and their advisory committees should be assessed periodically to determine their efficiency. Floridians want a system that eliminates spending on unnecessary or obsolete programs by forcing a program's proponents to justify, on a regular basis, the need for the program and its benefits.

Florida's 2006 Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee is modeled after the Texas Sunset Review Commission, which abolished 47 agencies or programs, saving $736.9 million in taxpayer dollars. Like the Texas Commission, the Florida Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee will systematically review ALL the duties, operations, and programs of state agencies and their advisory committees. The committee should also determine whether certain public/private entities have upheld their promises. Many agencies and programs may continue unaltered after the review; however, having been subjected to a critical review these programs will hold a greater accountability than any non-reviewed program.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 50-51 , Nov 1, 2006

Early FL primary forces diversity into presidential process

Florida lacks real influence in national primaries. None of the states with earlier primaries than Florida's can match our diversity in population (both ethnic and socio-economic), and range of ecosystems. The impact of this diversity would manifest itself on election day.

Currently, a small, non-diverse group of citizens (the voters of IA and NH) have a disproportionate impact on the nomination of presidential candidates. While these states provide the benefit of beginning the presidential election in small communities that can be easily traversed and thoroughly campaigned, a large and diverse state should follow them. The only way to change the status quo is to force candidates to be tested by more diverse populations and to address a wider range of issues. Holding Florida's primary earlier would apply that force.

Moving Florida's presidential primary to a time that would highlight Florida's concerns and issues would ensure our national influence in choosing a presidential candidate

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 57-58 , Nov 1, 2006

Closer regulation of petition verification process

Florida's Constitution is commonly viewed as the easiest in the US to amend: via citizen initiative petition. The process, originally created in 1968 to empower citizens to amend their constitution, has morphed into an expensive undertaking dominated by special interest groups that pay professional signature gatherers to collect petition signatures.

Examples of citizen initiatives adopted in 2004 include authorization of the use of slot machines, and an increase in the minimum wage. These provisions do not belong in our Constitution. The purposes of these amendments could have been accomplished by legislative action.

A 2006 bill established closer regulation of the petition process. Legislation should require paid circulators to wear a badge identifying them as paid circulators; prohibit compensation of petition circulators on a "per signature" basis; and create a process for revoking one's own signature. These changes would help return the citizen initiative process to its original intent.

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas, by Marco Rubio, p. 60-62 , Nov 1, 2006

Allow transferring surplus campaign funds to other campaigns

Rubio voted YES on HB 1037, Campaign Financing (Passed House, 81 - 36).

State government synopsis: Allows unopposed legislative candidates to transfer surplus campaign funds to or retain such funds in a campaign account for reelection to the same office; establishes limits on the transferable amount of such funds; provides a prohibition from fundraising under certain conditions; deletes certain filing requirements for candidates for other than statewide office.

Source: Florida state legislative voting records , May 2, 2006

Identify constitutionality in every new congressional bill.

Rubio signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 1. Protect the Constitution:

Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA01 on Jul 8, 2010

Audit federal agencies, to reform or eliminate them.

Rubio signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington:

Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality,

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA05 on Jul 8, 2010

Moratorium on all earmarks until budget is balanced.

Rubio signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 9. Stop the Pork:

Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA09 on Jul 8, 2010

Ban stock trading based on Congressional insider knowledge.

Rubio co-sponsored STOCK Act

Congressional Summary:Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act): Amends the Securities Exchange Act and the Commodity Exchange Act to prohibit purchase or sale of either securities or commodities by a person in possession of material nonpublic information regarding pending or prospective legislative action.

Bill explanation (ProCon.org, "Insider Trading by Congress", Feb. 3, 2012):

Source: H1148/S1871 11-S1871 on Nov 15, 2011

Prohibit IRS audits targeting Tea Party political groups.

Rubio co-sponsored Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act

Congressional summary:: Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act: Requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards and definitions in effect on January 1, 2010, for determining whether an organization qualifies for tax-exempt status as an organization operated exclusively for social welfare to apply to such determinations after enactment of this Act. Prohibits any regulation, or other ruling, not limited to a particular taxpayer relating to such standards and definitions.

Proponent's argument in favor (Heritage Action, Feb. 26, 2014): H.R. 3865 comes in the wake of an attack on the Tea Party and other conservative organizations. The current IRS regulation is so broad and ill-defined that the IRS applies a "facts and circumstances" test to determine what constitutes "political activity" by an organization. This test can vary greatly depending on the subjective views of the particular IRS bureaucrat applying the test. IRS employees took advantage of this vague and subjective standard to unfairly delay granting tax-exempt status to Tea Party organizations and subject them to unreasonable scrutiny.

Text of sample IRS letter to Tea Party organizations:We need more information before we can complete our consideration of your application for exemption. Please provide the information requested on the enclosed Information Request by the response due date. Your response must be signed by an authorized person or officer whose name is listed on your application.

Source: H.R.3865 & S.2011 14-S2011 on Feb 11, 2014

Constitutional amendment for Congressional term limits.

Rubio signed supporting Congressional term limits

Excerpts from press release on Term Limits Caucus: Two U.S. Term Limits pledge signers, Republican Rep. Rod Blum (IA-1) and Democrat Rep. Beto O`Rourke (TX-16), have announced the formation of a Term Limits Caucus, which will work to build bipartisan support behind a constitutional amendment imposing term limits on Congress. "The root of this problem is that politicians are incentivized by the system to care more about retaining their position than doing what is best for the country," Blum said. "Our founding fathers never intended for public service to be a career, rather, serving in Congress was designed to be a temporary sacrifice made for the public good."

The new working group will marshal pro-term limits members together to pursue common ground. One of its most important duties will be building consensus around the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three House terms and two Senate terms, to which both Blum and O`Rourke have pledged their exclusive support.

Supporting argument: (Cato Institute): We should limit members to three terms in the House and two terms in the Senate. Let more people serve. Let more people make the laws. And let's get some people who don't want to make Congress a lifelong career. Some say that term limits would deprive us of the skills of experienced lawmakers. Really? It's the experienced legislators who gave us a $17 trillion national debt, and the endless war in Iraq, and the Wall Street bailout.

Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation): The only serious opponents of term limits are incumbent politicians and the special interests--particularly labor unions--that support them. Special interests oppose term limits because they do not want to lose their valuable investments in incumbent legislators. Many are organized to extract programs, subsidies, and regulations from the federal government--to use the law as a lever to benefit their own constituencies or harm their rivals.

Source: U.S. Term Limits 17MEM-USTL on Jan 26, 2017

President Trump not guilty of inciting insurrection.

Rubio voted NAY removing President Trump from office for inciting insurrection

GovTrack.us summary of H.Res.24: Article of Impeachment Against Former President Donald John Trump:

The House impeached President Trump for the second time, charging him with incitement of insurrection. The impeachment resolution accused the President of inciting the violent riot that occurred on January 6, when his supporters invaded the United States Capitol injuring and killing Capitol Police and endangering the safety of members of Congress. It cites statements from President Trump to the rioters such as `if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore,` as well as persistent lies that he won the 2020 Presidential election.

Legislative Outcome:

Bill introduced Jan 11, 2021, with 217 co-sponsors; House rollcall vote #117 passed 232-197-4 on Jan. 13th (a YES vote in the House was to impeach President Trump for inciting insurrection); Senate rollcall vote #59 rejected 57-43-0 on Feb. 13th (2/3 required in Senate to pass; a YES vote in the Senate would have found President Trump guilty, but since he had already left office at that time, a guilty verdict would have barred Trump from running for President in the future)

Source: Congressional vote 21-HR24S on Jan 11, 2021

Voted NO on two articles of impeachment against Trump.

Rubio voted NAY Impeachment of President Trump

RESOLUTION: Impeaching Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.

    ARTICLE I: ABUSE OF POWER: Using the powers of his high office, Pres. Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 US Presidential election. He did so through a course of conduct that included
  1. Pres. Trump--acting both directly and through his agents--corruptly solicited the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph Biden; and a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine--rather than Russia--interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election.
  2. With the same corrupt motives, Pres. Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested: (A) the release of $391 million that Congress had appropriated for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression; and (B) a head of state meeting at the White House, which the President of Ukraine sought.
  3. Faced with the public revelation of his actions, Pres. Trump ultimately released the [funds] to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.
These actions were consistent with Pres. Trump's previous invitations of foreign interference in US elections.
  1. Pres. Trump defied a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought [by Congress];
  2. defied lawful subpoenas [for] the production of documents and records;
  3. and directed current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees.
These actions were consistent with Pres. Trump's previous efforts to undermine US Government investigations into foreign interference in US elections.
Source: Congressional vote ImpeachK on Dec 18, 2019

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