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Florida Republican Senator and Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio announced that he will vote against the deal to raise the federal debt ceiling as congressional leaders work to get the legislation completed in the Senate by Tuesday.
The proposed compromise would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade and raise the nation's $14.3 trillion borrowing cap by up to $2.4 trillion, while also creating a special legislative committee to look for more cuts. Those involved say the cap is enough to keep the government afloat through the 2012 elections — a key objective for Obama, whose poll numbers have sagged as the summertime crisis dragged on.
In an impassioned speech against the proposed debt deal compromise, Rubio, the breakout star of the 2010 election, addressed the Senate floor on Saturday. The majority Democratic senate needs 60 votes to pass the current debt compromise, underscoring the importance of Rubio’s vote.
“I would love nothing more than compromise. But I would say to you: That compromise, that's not a solution, it’s a waste of time. If my house was on fire, I can't compromise about which part of the house I'm going to save,” Rubio said. “You save the whole house or it will all burn down. We either save this country or we do not. And to save it, we must seek solutions.”
Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, has made his opposition clear for months now, including in a March Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Why I Won't Vote to Raise the Debt Limit.”
“I will vote to defeat an increase in the debt limit unless it is the last one we ever authorize and is accompanied by a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” he wrote.
“Finally, instead of simply raising the debt limit, we should reassure job creators by setting a firm statutory cap on our public debt-to-GDP ratio.”
The senator is the only member of the South Florida Congressional delegation who has promised to hold out on a vote. The other members of the delegation tell the Miami Herald they will likely approve the tentative deal struck Sunday night.
House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio spoke to fellow representatives in a conference call Sunday night.
"I was pleased to have participated in Speaker Boehner’s conference call that outlined the bipartisan, common-sense solution to the out-of-control fiscal spending nightmare confronting our nation," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, to the Miami Herald. "This process demonstrated the viability of our democracy even when there are substantial differences of opinion. I look forward to supporting the bipartisan compromise this week."
This article contains some content from the Associated Press.