Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 28, 2015

Posts in "Marco Rubio"

July 27, 2015

Menendez, Rubio Critical of ‘Political’ Human Trafficking Report

Menendez and Rubio are critical of a new human trafficking report. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Menendez and Rubio are critical of a new human trafficking report. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two senators say politics are at play in the State Department’s announcement that the human trafficking situations in Malaysia and Cuba are improving.

On Monday, the State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report, bumping both nations from Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watch List, allowing Malaysia to stay in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Full story

July 24, 2015

Freedom Watch Sues to Stop Iran Deal

Despite agreement on both sides of the aisle that the Iran nuclear agreement is not a treaty, a conservative activist group filed suit to block the measure as unconstitutional.

Freedom Watch announced the lawsuit on Thursday, arguing that by approving the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, the Senate forfeited it’s right to approve of a treaty’s ratification by a two-thirds majority and changed the way treaties are ratified, who they are ratified by, and the required number of votes for approval.

“The Defendants gave away the carefully-crafted protections of the U.S. Constitution meant to preserve the liberties and ‘provide for the common defense’ of American citizens,” the group said in a statement.

The suit names President Barack Obama for signing the review act and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; and Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., for voting in favor of the review act.

“These representatives acted in disregard of their obligations to uphold the U.S. Constitution,” Larry Klayman, Freedom Watch’s founder, said in the statement.

The administration and Congress argue that the agreement is not a treaty and therefore does not require a two-thirds consent of the Senate.


Iran Deal: Treaty or Not?

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June 18, 2015

Rand Paul Wants Internal GOP Debate Over Taxes

Paul toured Independence Hall on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul proposed a flat tax Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In unveiling his proposal to slash taxes to a single 14.5 percent marginal rate, Sen. Rand Paul wants a debate over whether the GOP should only seek to simplify the tax code.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call, the Kentucky Republican said the plan he outlined in an opinion piece published in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal should encourage a debate about the amount of money the federal government should take in from tax receipts, upending the existing systems of taxes and tariffs along the way.

Full story

June 2, 2015

Rubio: Next President Will Have to Restore Intelligence Powers

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul and Rubio represented opposite sides in the NSA surveillance debate, although both voted to filibuster the USA Freedom Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday the next president will have to reverse damage done to the national security apparatus by the USA Freedom Act.

The Florida Republican and presidential candidate was one of the 32 senators to vote against the bill to overhaul the National Security Agency’s Patriot Act-era intelligence collection programs, which easily passed. He was in a group of lawmakers, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said the bill could make America less secure. And he was one of just 14 who voted to filibuster the bill earlier Tuesday, along with fellow presidential candidates Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.

But Rubio’s position was, on policy grounds, the polar opposite of Paul’s.

Full story

May 22, 2015

Cruz, Rubio Team Up on Iran

Rivals and allies, Cruz and Rubio are demanding the Pentagon report on Iranian military capabilities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rivals and allies, Cruz and Rubio are demanding the Pentagon report on Iranian military capabilities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rival Republican presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida are teaming up on Iran.

The duo, along with Georgia GOP Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, are demanding a report on Iranian military power from the Pentagon.

Full story

May 14, 2015

Mr. Cruz? Mr. Cruz? Presidential Contenders’ Missed Votes Pile Up

Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call Graphic

Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call Graphic

At least five senators are running, or thinking about running, for president. That means absences in the Senate are piling up. Full story

April 13, 2015

Marco Rubio: The CQ Biography

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Young, telegenic and Hispanic, Marco Rubio was talked about as a future presidential candidate within days of his election to the Senate in 2010. That buzz has died down over the past four years, as have Rubio’s ties to the tea party movement, but his entry into the 2016 race for the White House puts him into the top tier of Republican contenders.

The son of Cuban immigrants and a popular figure in the crucial swing state of Florida, Rubio presents himself as a hard-working fiscal conservative with plenty of government experience — he spent most of his 30s in the state House, departing after two years as speaker. He was vetted as a possible running mate to Mitt Romney in 2012, and shortly after the election, polls of Republicans showed Rubio as the favorite possible GOP presidential nominee for 2016.

His biggest challenges may be immigration — he favors a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally, anathema to many conservatives — and the fact they he might end up running against his political mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

“He’s got all the tools,” Bush told National Review magazine in 2009, when Rubio was an underdog Senate candidate. “He’s charismatic and has the right principles.”
Bolstering his policy credentials, Rubio has formulated a plan he thinks will help keep Social Security solvent by exempting retirees from payroll taxes, and he has co-authored a plan to overhaul and simplify the tax code, reducing the number of tax brackets to two and establishing a $2,500 child tax credit while doing away with many other credits and deductions.

Immigration is a central issue, and Rubio was part of a bipartisan group of senators known as the “gang of eight” that, in 2013, produced an overhaul bill. The version that passed the Senate that year would have augmented border security, revamped employment-based immigration and expanded use of the E-Verify employment verification system. Most notably, it would have allowed illegal immigrants already in the county to apply for probationary legal status and eventually seek citizenship. The bill went nowhere in the House, however.

Immigration aside, it’s difficult to argue that Rubio is anything other than a conservative. In the past he opposed increases to the federal debt limit and favored the strategy that led to a government shutdown in October 2013 — refusing to appropriate funds for implementation of the 2010 health care law. He also voted against a long-term reauthorization of farm and nutrition programs, calling it too sprawling and expensive.

On defense and foreign policy he is a hawk, favoring stronger measures to counter the Islamic State terror group in the Middle East and distrust of Iran’s rulers.

Rubio was born in Miami. Earlier in his career, he described his parents as Cuban exiles who fled Fidel Castro’s regime. The Washington Post reported in 2011, though, that Rubio’s mother and father left the island for Florida more than two and half years before Castro took power. Rubio said his version was based on family oral history

The family moved to Las Vegas when Rubio was 8, and he converted to Mormonism along with his mother. They later returned to both Miami and Catholicism. Rubio spent one year at Tarkio College in Missouri on a football scholarship before transferring to a community college in Florida. He eventually earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Florida and a law degree from the University of Miami. An internship with Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen led to a political career.

When Rubio announced his Senate candidacy in 2009, he was a long shot against Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. However, Crist’s lack of devotion to core Republican principles and endorsement of Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package didn’t sit well with conservatives. Rubio also got a lift from the tea party movement.


Rubio’s Presidential Bid Creates Open-Seat Scrum

Marco Rubio One-Page Fact File

2016: An Unanchored, Puzzling Presidential Election | Commentary

It’s Early: Why Pundits Shouldn’t Overreact

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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March 31, 2015

10 Things We Learned From the Vote-a-Rama


Toomey got attention for changing his vote during last week’s vote-a-rama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the vote-a-rama in the rearview mirror, it’s worth taking stock of what the 15-plus hours of nonbinding votes on dozens of amendments said about the 2016 presidential election, how vulnerable senators voted and what issues might now come to the fore. Full story

March 4, 2015

Rubio, Lee Unveil Tax Code Overhaul, Welcome Critics

Lee and Rubio prepare to hold a news conference on their tax plan rollout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lee and Rubio prepare to hold a news conference on their tax plan rollout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Say this much about Sen. Marco Rubio: He’s not afraid to put ideas on the table.

The Florida Republican joined Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to present an outline for overhauling the tax code Wednesday morning that — scored statically and in a vacuum — would be sure to reduce the government’s revenue by tens of billions of dollars and eliminate or restrict a slew of popular tax credits and deductions.

But, the pair is floating a white paper and welcoming the critics, even if it would expose them to criticism in future political endeavors. Both Lee and Rubio have Senate seats that are up for re-election in 2016, and Rubio appears to be laying the groundwork for a White House bid.

Full story

February 17, 2015

Democrats Escape Cold, Spend Part of Recess in Cuba

McCaskill, center, and Klobuchar, right, were part of a CODEL to Cuba. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

McCaskill, center, and Klobuchar, right, were part of a CODEL to Cuba. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Democrats from both sides of the Capitol have been spending parts of their Presidents Day recess in Cuba as relations between the communist nation and the United States begin to thaw.

The trips weren’t designed to be a means of avoiding the bitter cold, but that might be a much appreciated side effect. A House delegation led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrived on the island Tuesday, just as a trio of senators wrapped up their trip of a few days and prepared to return to the U.S. Full story

February 6, 2015

ISIS AUMF Debate a 2016 Foreign Policy Test

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz, left, and Graham are two senators seen as potential Republican candidates for the White House in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress is gearing up — belatedly — for a full-throated war debate that will serve as a proving ground for potential presidential candidates heading into 2016.

With a draft Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group expected on Capitol Hill by the middle of the week, as lawmakers complete work before a weeklong Presidents Day recess, the debate over how much authority to give President Barack Obama will soon take center stage.

The issue will provide opportunities for jockeying among those senators seeking their party’s nomination for president, including Lindsey Graham, who recently announced his intention to explore the possibilities.

Full story

January 26, 2015

Senate Absences Begin for 2016 (Updated)

elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | It may be January, but the Senate absences for potential presidential candidates have already begun.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky opted against attending the joint House-Senate Republican Republican retreat in Pennsylvania, and now it’s been reported that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., could miss a week’s worth of business on the floor.

ABC News reported that Rubio would spend the week fundraising, with several events in California. Rubio is among those in the Senate Republican Conference mulling a White House bid. His Senate seat is also on the ballot in 2016.

Full story

December 19, 2014

Paul Challenges Rubio Over Obama’s Cuba Plan

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky trolled Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, his potential rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, on Twitter Friday over Rubio’s opposition to President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba.

Full story

December 17, 2014

Rubio Threatens To Unravel Obama Cuba Deal

Rubio adjusts his tie ahead of a press conference blasting President Barack Obama's deal with Cuba. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rubio adjusts his tie ahead of a press conference blasting President Barack Obama’s deal with Cuba. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., excoriated President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba and threatened to hold up efforts to confirm an ambassador and fund an embassy.

“This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime who has basically given the Cuban government everything it asked for and received no assurances of any advances of democracy and freedom in return,” ripped Rubio, who may run for president in 2016, at a press conference. Full story

December 14, 2014

How Big Is the Ted Cruz Caucus?

Ted Cruz

Eleven Republicans sided with Ted Cruz on all three key votes on the ‘cromnibus.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a question that will prove crucial next year when Mitch McConnell takes the reins of a new Senate: Just how big is the Ted Cruz caucus?

Three votes on the “cromnibus” late Saturday night suggest it could be as large as 22 senators — a dangerously high number for McConnell — or as few as a handful.

Let’s break down the three votes — on filibustering the $1.1 trillion package, on Cruz’s point of order aimed at targeting the president’s immigration action, and final passage. Full story

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