Rubio Votes Against Fiscal Cliff Deal

Jan 1, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio says the deal fails to address the big problems.
Credit Mandel Ngan / AFP

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was one of eight senators to vote against the bill to avert the fiscal cliff, saying it doesn’t solve the “big problems” facing government.

The bill would preserve Bush-era tax cuts for most people, but allow taxes to rise for individuals making more than $400,000 a year and couples making more than $450,000.

The deal also extends unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, and delays for two months automatic spending cuts.

Rubio told Buzzfeed.com he "just couldn't vote for" the compromise.

The real fiscal cliff is the one that awaits us, and nothing happened tonight to avoid that.

“I ran for office because I wanted to be a part of solving these big problems, and time and again we're faced with options here that don't really do that," he said.

"The real fiscal cliff is the one that awaits us, and nothing happened tonight to avoid that.”

In a statement Tuesday, Rubio added: "Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing," Rubio said. "But rapid economic growth and job creation will be made more difficult under the deal reached here in Washington.

“Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they'll pay this new tax and, chances are, they'll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make. And to make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control.

"Of course, many Americans will be relieved in the short term that their taxes won't go up. However in the long run, they will be hurt when employers pass on to them one of the largest tax hikes in decades. Furthermore, this deal just postpones the inevitable, the need to solve our growing debt crisis and help the 23 million Americans who can't find the work they need."

The Washington Post speculates that Rubio’s vote puts pressure on another 2016 presidential hopeful, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

“Ryan has previously voted ‘yes’ along with members of House leadership, but that could change in the face of a heated presidential primary fight,” according to the Post.

Florida’s other Senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, voted for the measure, which still needs to pass the House if it is to become law.

The other seven senators voting no were Democrats Tom Harkin (Iowa), Tom Carper (Del.), Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Republicans Mike Lee (Utah), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Chuck Grassley (Iowa).