Entries in Sen. Marco Rubio (12)


Rubio Optimistic About Immigration Reform

Photo by Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., believes that the immigration bill he helped write will eventually get enough votes to break a filibuster in the Senate.

Earlier this week, Rubio cast doubt on the bill's ability to pass the Senate, saying that the border security language was not tough enough to attract a sufficient number of Republican votes. The Florida senator even said he might vote against his own bill if changes are not made. That prompted questions over Rubio's commitment to passing the legislation.

During a Univision interview, Rubio said that the bill's authors have not yet rounded up 60 votes -- enough to prevent it from being filibustered by its opponents. But he said that he is "100 percent committed to the immigration issue" and that he wants tougher border measures in order to "earn our colleagues' trust," and not to kill the bill.

"We'll have a lot more than 60 votes, but we're going to have to work at it," he told Univision's Maria Elena Salinas in an interview that will air Sunday on Al Punto.

Formal debate on the bill began on the Senate floor on Friday. Rubio's optimistic tone comes after immigrant-rights activists voiced concern that the senator's comments about the bill's potential failure could stunt its momentum as it heads toward a vote in the Senate.

Activists aren't pleased that Rubio wants to add additional border measures to a bill the senator previously described as the toughest enforcement bill in U.S. history. Protesters conducted a sit-in at Rubio's office in Miami on Thursday over proposed changes to the border security elements of the legislation.

But Rubio told Univision that his GOP colleagues are willing to bend on their rejection of a path to citizenship if the border-security measures are sound.

"Many colleagues who just four or five years ago were not in favor of granting legal status to the people who were here illegally, who were not in favor of creating a path to citizenship, today are open to it," he said. "They're simply asking that we make sure that the border is secure and that another wave of illegal migration doesn't take place in the future."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio Right in the Middle of the Immigration Debate

Photo by Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As an immigration reform bill heads to the floor of the Senate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is staking out a position as the man who can help bargain for Republican votes.

The bipartisan legislation will likely only need a handful of GOP votes to gain passage in the Democrat-controlled Senate. But the senators who drafted the bill want to pass it with a strong majority.

The reason: They think that will help its chances in the House, where Republicans have the majority and some, like Rep. Steve King, R- Iowa, will be scheming to kill it.

That's where Rubio comes in.

Even though Rubio is one of the authors of the bill, he's suggested changing it in recent weeks. That's because he thinks certain parts to the legislation need to be altered if it's going to pass, according to Alex Burgos, a spokesperson for the senator.

The bill will have to "earn the support of Democrat and Republican senators who do not support the bill as it stands today," Burgos wrote in an email.

So far, Rubio has mostly been working to pick up Republican support. Take border security, for example.

As the legislation stands right how, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is tasked with coming up with a plan to secure the border. Rubio suggested recently that it might be better for Congress to spell out how the plan should work.

Rubio's mission to make the bill more conservative might be necessary to help it's long-term odds at passage. But it could also agitate liberal supporters of immigration reform.

It's the price Rubio pays for sitting at the center (or center-right) of this coalition. He's the glue holding the deal together, but that's also made him a popular target for both sides.

Some immigrant rights groups are already going after Rubio for things like beefed up border security, including a protest on Friday at his Florida office.

And at the same time, he's been weathering attacks from immigration restrictionists who are angry that he's supporting citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Those seem to be growing in intensity, with one group reportedly taking out 30-second ads against the senator on Florida television.

What this means is that Rubio will likely be the politician to watch as the immigration debate moves forward.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Immigration Bill Delayed, Likely Not Ready Until Next Week

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Wednesday’s expected Senate briefing on the Gang of Eight immigration bill was postponed.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was scheduled to explain the nearly finished proposal, but senators coming out of the closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill told reporters that the gun issue took up the entire agenda.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a powerful critic of immigration reform, said the Gang of Eight was not ready.

Sessions said, “I guess he wasn’t ready. They didn’t seem to be interested in doing that,” he told reporters. “I didn’t get the impression there was any interest to get that done today [among the Gang of Eight]. The impression I got was that they hoped to be able to do it next week.”

Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican of Arizona and one of the Gang of Eight, told reporters the bill could be ready by Friday or slip into next week.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rand Paul Edges Marco Rubio in CPAC Straw Poll

United States Senate(NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.) -- Could Rand Paul run for president in 2016?

The Kentucky senator emerged as the potential 2016 presidential candidate preferred by the largest share of those who participated in a straw poll at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference. Paul commanded 25 percent of straw poll voters, while another possible GOP contender, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, was close on his heels with 23 percent, according to the results of the survey announced on Sunday.

None of the other Republicans whose names appeared on the straw poll ballot managed to break double digits. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who tried and failed to win the Republican nomination in 2012, finished third with 8 percent of the vote. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was right behind Santorum with 7 percent, followed by last year’s vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, at 6 percent.

Paul’s win comes just over a week after his attention-getting, 13-hour filibuster of CIA director John Brennan's appointment. And it was clear at the gathering this week that Paul was a crowd favorite.

“Now I was told I only get 10 measly minutes. But just in case I brought 13 hours of information,” Paul joked as he opened his remarks to the conference on Thursday, holding large binders in his hands.

Many attendees donned T-shirts and held up signs emblazoned with the slogan, “I Stand With Rand.”

“The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don’t think we need to name any names here, do  we?” Paul said in his remarks. “The new GOP — the GOP that will win again — will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere.”

Like all straw polls, this one was a non-scientific measure of preference. The CPAC poll surveyed 2,930 of the attendees at the three-day annual conference that took place outside Washington, D.C. More than half (52 percent) of those who participated were between the ages of 18 and 25.

Notably, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who spoke to CPAC on Friday night, asked that his name not be included on this year’s straw poll ballot. Twenty-three other names did appear, however, including at least two governors — Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell — who were not invited to address the gathering.

Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw poll in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Ron Paul won in 2010 and 2011. Romney won again in 2012. This year’s poll was sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by the GOP firm, Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.

Here’s a rundown of the top 2013 CPAC straw poll finishers:

Ky. Sen. Rand Paul — 25 percent
Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio — 23 percent
Other/Write-in — 14 percent
Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum — 8 percent
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie — 7 percent
Wis. Congressman Paul Ryan — 6 percent
Wis. Gov. Scott Walker — 5 percent
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson — 4 percent
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — 4 percent
La. Gov. Bobby Jindal — 3 percent
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — 3 percent
Undecided — 1 percent

2013 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll ballot:
N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Former Ind. Gov. Mitch Daniels
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley
La. Gov. Bobby Jindal
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez
Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
Ky. Sen. Rand Paul
Ind. Gov. Mike Pence
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio
Wis. Congressman Paul Ryan
Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum
S.C. Sen. Tim Scott
S.D. Sen. John Thune
Wis. Gov. Scott Walker

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio Discusses Science, 'Mutual Respect' at CPAC

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.) -- Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday challenged some of the stereotypes affixed to the Republican Party on two hot-button topics, abortion and gay marriage, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that his positions on the issues make him neither a “chauvinist” nor a “bigot.”

“In order to work together with people you disagree with, there has to be mutual respect,” the Florida Republican told the annual, three-day conference in National Harbor, Md. “That means I respect people that disagree with me on certain things, but they have to respect me, too.

“Just because I believe that states should have the rights to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot. Just because we believe that life, all life, all human life is worthy of protection of every stage in its development does not make you a chauvinist.”

Rubio, 41, continued to argue that science was on his side when it comes to abortion, saying “the people who are actually close-minded in American politics are the people that love to preach about the certainty of science when regards to our climate but ignore the absolute fact that science is proven that life begins at conception.”

Rubio famously declared last year that he’s “not a scientist, man,” after he was asked a question about the age of the Earth.

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians,” Rubio told GQ last year.

He went on to say, “I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”

Rubio later clarified his answer and cited exactly how old scientists say the Earth is.

“Science says it’s about four and a half billion years old, and my faith teaches that that’s not inconsistent,” Rubio told Politico. “The answer I gave was actually trying to make the same point the president made a few years ago, and that is there is no scientific debate on the age of the Earth.

“I still believe God did it,” Rubio added. “And that’s how I’ve been able to reconcile that and I think it’s consistent with the teachings of my church. But other people have a deeper conflict and I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever we believe.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rep. King Says Marco Rubio Not Welcome to Raise Money in New York

United States Congress(NEW YORK) -- Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, is furious that Florida Senator, and fellow Republican, Marco Rubio is hitting up New Yorkers for campaign cash after voting against federal funds to rebuild the region after superstorm Sandy ravaged the area.

In fact, King urged New Yorkers not to give money to any of his fellow Republicans who voted against the Sandy aid.

"Nobody on Wall Street, nobody in the financial services, nobody anywhere in New York should give a nickel to these guys," he told ABC News.

Rubio voted against the $50.4 billion Sandy Relief aid package, but what really irks King is that Rubio is from Florida, a state that has been ravaged by storms in the past and according to King, "has gotten billions and billions of dollars in hurricane aid."

Politico reported this week that the Florida senator who has been called the "Republican savior" is trying to lock down high dollar Wall Street donors ahead of a potential 2016 campaign.

"Over the years I've known so many politicians who almost make a career out of either criticizing New York or voting against New York, and then I find out they are all having fundraisers down on Wall Street or out in the Hamptons," King said.

"[Sandy] is the worst natural disaster we have in the history of our state and region and he just arbitrarily voted no, and then to come in and ask for money... To me, if New York does this then we are just suckers," King said.

The Republican congressman, who represents parts of New York City's Long Island suburbs, said he hasn't spoken to Rubio. King took a karmic view of the lack of communication, adding that Rubio "didn't talk to me before voting against aid for New York."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rubio Stops in Jordan During Trip to Middle East

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is on a tour of the Middle East this week, which will include a stop in Israel.

Rubio met Monday with King Abdullah II in Jordan along with other members of the Jordanian government to talk about the Syrian war and the economic and security cooperation between the United States and Jordan.  Rubio also met with former Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected to Jordan last year.  This marked Rubio’s first-ever trip to Jordan.

The Florida senator, who is accompanied on the trip by his wife Jeanette, will make his second trip to Israel at the end of the week, when he will meet with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“America’s friendship with Israel is a truly special one, and we must continue to do all we can to support this beacon of democracy, religious freedom and free enterprise in the heart of an unstable region,” Rubio said in a post on his website over the weekend. “As Iran continues its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, we must continue to apply pressure through every possible means in order to prevent a nuclear Iran. And I look forward to assessing the impact American security assistance is having and discussing the importance of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and how we can maintain it during this time of great uncertainty and tumult in Egypt.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sen. Marco Rubio to Introduce Romney on Closing Night of Convention

US Senate(NEW YORK) -- When he takes the convention stage Thursday night, Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the GOP's rising Latino stars, will not only introduce Mitt Romney on the evening he formally accepts his party's nomination, but offer a glimpse of where the Republican Party is heading.

Rubio, 41, is part of the new wave of young, diverse Republicans who are on display at this year's convention. The Florida junior senator, who is considered one of the GOP's most electrifying speakers, will add to the chorus of testimonies touting Romney's personal and leadership qualities as the GOP works to woo undecided voters, including women and Latinos.

Rubio, whose family immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the 1950s, experienced a meteoric rise within the GOP ranks during the swell of the Tea Party movement in 2010, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, a seat he's held for less than two years. Many believe Rubio's calls for rising above petty politics, and his growing popularity among the GOP faithful, coupled with his youth and Latin roots signal a potential presidential bid of his own down the line.

Rubio is part attack dog, part party uniter, all while touting his Cuban descent and family's story of achieving the American dream. Romney has even taken to incorporating Rubio's American dream narrative into his stump speeches.

"[Rubio] said something that will stay with me a long time," Romney said at a June Rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa. "He said when I was a boy living poor in this country with my family, we saw some other homes, great big homes and fancy cars. He said, 'I never heard my parents say why can't we have what they have. Instead my parents said aren't we lucky to live in a country where with education and hard work, there's a shot we have of earning that ourselves.' That's the nature of America. We're the land of opportunity."

Romney and Rubio's relationship dates back to 2010, when Romney endorsed Rubio in his Senate bid a few weeks before Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, then a Republican, announced he'd run as an independent. Before he selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney said his team had been vetting Rubio as a potential VP pick.

Rubio, who campaigned with Romney in Florida and Pennsylvania this election cycle, will speak about how the former Massachusetts governor acts as a "role model" for young people in this country.

"Mitt Romney, who has lived his life in a way that's not just admirable but really a role model, irrespective of how people may feel about his policies. They may disagree with him on policies, but you look at the way he's lived his life as a husband, as a father, as a member of his community, really a role model for younger Americans and what we should all aspire for our kids to be," Rubio told ABC's George Stephanopoulos Wednesday.

"And then, also, the choice that America has between two very different views of government's role in our economy. That's really what this election is about. It's not just a choice between a Democrat and a Republican, it's a choice between two very different futures. I hope I can do that for him."

Rubio has called President Obama the most "divisive figure in modern American history."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Rubio Calls for AG Holder to Resign

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., became the second senator to call for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over the Fast & Furious gun-walking scandal.

“Yes, I do at this point, I do,” Rubio answered when asked at The Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning if the attorney general should go. “I think we’ve now reached a point of no return on this issue.”

Rubio said yesterday’s decision by the administration to invoke executive privilege was “the last straw,” for him.

“I don’t know how the attorney general can continue to exercise that office with any level of credibility after the decision that was made yesterday,” he said.

“I think he’s, they’ve, been given multiple opportunities to answer very legitimate questions that the Congress has. We know for a fact that something they told the Congress was not true. And now, I think it’s very legitimate for the Congress to inquire as to why we were told something that wasn’t true," Rubio said. "And they refuse to provide materials to prove that.”

Earlier this month, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, became the first senator to call for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. Holder had been testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee where Cornyn expressed his views that the attorney general has not been honest and has been overly political.

In the House of Representatives, more than 50 Republicans that have called for Holder’s resignation.  Yesterday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents to congressional investigators from the Fast and Furious scandal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rubio Admits ‘Mistake’ in Use of State Party Credit Card

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Among the controversies swirling around Sen. Marco Rubio is a charge that while serving as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, he used the state Republican Party’s credit card to pay for personal expenses.

But in an interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier on Monday, Rubio took pains to emphasize that he did not bill personal expenses to the state party, but instead paid the bill himself. Still, he admitted the way he handled it was a “mistake.”

“I did not bill personal expenses to the Republican Party of Florida. The Republican Party of Florida never paid my personal expenses. Never. But look, you know, I shouldn’t have done it that way. It was a lesson learned,” Rubio said in Monday’s interview.  “It was a mistake. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it very differently.”

“At the end of every month, we would get those statements. We would see what was on there that was party related, and the party would pay that. If it wasn’t party related, I would pay that directly to American Express. Now, obviously, in hindsight, it looks bad, right? I mean, why are you using a party credit card at all? Well, some of these expenses were because a travel agent had the … credit card number, and they billed it to that card instead of the other card. Sometimes, it was just a mistake, you know, literally just reached for the wrong card.”

Rubio, who sits atop many vice presidential dream team lists, came clean about the credit card matter during his 2010 run for the U.S. Senate, and his revisiting it now, along with the other controversies that surround him, could be an effort to head off any VP vetting Mitt Romney’s campaign might undertake.

Rubio also explained his relationship with U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., who is under federal investigation for using campaign contributions for to pay for personal expenses. Rubio, whose close ties to the Florida congressman date from before they served together in the state legislature, said he would stand by Rivera.

“I guess it’s because I’m new to Washington. … Maybe it’s acceptable here—it isn’t to me—to turn your back on friends when they’re going through a difficult time, no matter … what they may have done or not done.  And so in his case, he’s a friend, and I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Rubio said.

Rubio also tackled the entanglement he and Rivera got into with a bank over missing payments for a home the two Floridians purchased together while serving in the state legislature.

“There was a disagreement with the bank about how much the monthly payments were. And it all got confusing. The bank turned it over to one of these law firms in Florida that specialized in quick foreclosure proceedings. And before we could figure it all out with them, they filed this paperwork. So we quickly addressed it, and we’ve never had a problem since,” Rubio said.

Asked if he was not making payments, Rubio said, “Yes, there was a disagreement over the amount per month. And so to them, that’s not—those are not complete payments. And … so there were all kinds of other things that happened as a result of that. But that all got worked out as soon as we found out about it.”

Rubio will host a fundraiser for Rivera in Washington, D.C., in May.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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