Marco Rubio on Government Reform
Republican Florida Senator
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.
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.
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.
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 He has raised taxes, increased regulations and taken over health care--all according to the outdated liberal theory that Americans struggle when government doesn't tax the rich enough and spend on the poor enough.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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):
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.
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.
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Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate races 2017-8:
AL: Strange(R) ; no opponent yet
AZ: Flake(R) vs. Ward(R)
CA: Feinstein(D) vs. Eisen(D) vs. Sanchez?(D) vs. Garcetti?(D)
CT: Murphy(D) ; no opponent yet
DE: Carper(D) vs. Biden?(D) vs. Markell?(D)
FL: Nelson(D) vs. DeSantis(R) vs. Jolly(R) vs. Lopez-Cantera(R)
HI: Hirono(D) ; no opponent yet
IN: Donnelly(D) vs. Hurt(R)
MA: Warren(D) vs. Ayyadurai(R)
MD: Cardin(D) ; no opponent yet
ME: King(I) vs. LePage?(R)
MI: Stabenow(D) vs. Bouchard?(R)
MN: Klobuchar(D) vs. Paulsen?(R)
MO: McCaskill(D) vs. Kinder?(R)
MS: Wicker(R) vs. McDaniel?(R)
MT: Tester(D) vs. Racicot?(R)
ND: Heitkamp(D) vs. Becker?(R)
NE: Fischer(R) ; no opponent yet
NJ: Menendez(D) vs. Chiesa(R) vs. Codey?(D) vs. Chiesa?(R)
NM: Heinrich(D) vs. Sanchez(R)
NV: Heller(R) vs. Sandoval?(R)
NY: Gillibrand(D) vs. Kennedy?(D)
OH: Brown(D) vs. Mandel(R)
PA: Casey(D) vs. Saccone(R)
RI: Whitehouse(D) ; no opponent yet
TN: Corker(R) vs. Crim(I)
TX: Cruz(R) vs. Bush?(R)
UT: Hatch(R) vs. McMullin?(R) vs. Romney?(R)
VT: Sanders(I) vs. Giordano(D)
VA: Kaine(D) vs. Cuccinelli?(R) vs. Fiorina?(R)
WA: Cantwell(D) ; no opponent yet
WV: Manchin(D) vs. Raese(R) vs. Goodwin?(R)
WI: Baldwin(D) vs. Grothman?(R) vs. Gallagher?(R)
WY: Barrasso(R) ; no opponent yet
Senate Votes (analysis)