Former House Speaker Marco Rubio, Republicanfront-runner in the U.S. Senate race, promised Monday to rein in federal spending and offered proposals to help slash the size and cost of the federal government.
Currently locked at the top of the polls with Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running without party affiliation, Rubio spoke at atown hall meeting in Jacksonville where he unveiled his proposals.
My children Amanda, 10; Daniella, 8; Anthony, 5; and Dominic, 2 are too young to understand what Washington politicians are doing to them and their generation, said Rubio. But I do, and its what motivates me each day to do something about it.
Rubio took aim at policies backed by President Barack Obama, calling for the elimination of bank bailouts and the federal stimulus. Rubio called for taking the money saved by eliminating those programs to be used in reducing the size of the national debt. Crist, who was a Republican at the time, had been an early backer of the Obama economic program, including embracing the stimulus plan.
The Republican also praised a measure backed by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, one of Rubios biggest sponsors at the national level, that would eliminate all congressional earmarks. Rubio argued that this would save the federal government between $15 billion and $20 billion each year.
Noting that the White House budget has grown by $4 million since Obama took over, Rubio took aim at Washington, arguing that the budgets of both the executive branch and Congress need to be reduced by 10 percent.
Rubiocalled for constitutional reforms as well, including amending the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to balance the budget. Rubio said he was in favor of havingsuper-majoritiesin Congress to pass any new tax hikes. He also supported granting the president a line-item veto which he argued reduced government spending.
Rubio favored reducing the size and cost of the federal government and work force, too, backing a freeze in pay increases and reducing the federal government to its size in 2008, the year before Obama took over. Rubio argued that this could be done if the federal government hired only one new employee for every two that left federal service, though he went out of his way to say that his proposals would not affect the military or veterans' services.
The decisions we make today and in the coming years will determine what kind of country they live in, said Rubio. Every day we postpone acting decisively to rein in wasteful spending and cut the debt, we pile even more on the backs of millions of young Americans.
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