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Sen. Marco Rubio said bluntly Friday the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea belong to Japan.
The Chinese government “has unilaterally declared an ‘air defense identification zone’ over international waters and the Senkaku Islands, which are the territory of our ally Japan. In the South China Sea, Beijing has dispatched ships and planes, moved oil rigs and even constructed artificial islands in an attempt to strengthen its position militarily,” the Republican presidential hopeful said during a broader speech in South Carolina about U.S.-China relations.
Sen. Marco Rubio sounds rather bearish on repealing Obamacare anytime soon, even if he or another Republican becomes president.
Outlining his economic and foreign policy visions at a town hall meeting in Londonderry, N.H., on Wednesday, the Floridian said upending the 2010 health care overhaul law would take the support of a filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 senators.
Sen. Marco Rubio Thursday morning called the State Department’s upgrade of Cuba’s human trafficking status an “embarrassment,” and requested documentation into the decision that senators on both sides of the aisle have called political.
The Florida Republican, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, urged Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter to reconsider the upgrade from Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watch List, because “Over the past year, Cuba has done almost nothing to combat human trafficking.” Full story
“It doesn’t surprise me one bit, and I wrote him a letter two days ago asking him to meet with them. But this is par for the course with these guys. It doesn’t surprise me at all. They have basically ignored the whole human rights issue. They gave it lip service. They say oh, we remain concerned. Meanwhile, this weekend, dozens of protesters were rounded up and beaten, peaceful protesters, women among them,” Rubio said. “We have the photos to prove it. Cuba is not going to change until the Cuban government changes.”
If drawing the attention of the Democratic front-runner is a sign of strength, then Sen. Marco Rubio is rising in stature.
Hillary Rodham Clinton hit the Florida Republican’s stance on abortion Monday at an event in New Hampshire, an outlook he’d voiced during last week’s Republican presidential debate. Full story
For three of the 14 presidential candidates participating in Monday’s Voters First Forum, the timing was less than ideal.
Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida all opted to be present for Monday evening’s procedural vote on taking up a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Since actual teleporting isn’t an option, they made do, appearing St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., through the magic of television.
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.
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.
“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?
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.
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.
At least five senators are running, or thinking about running, for president. That means absences in the Senate are piling up. Full story
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.
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
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.