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Marco Rubio joins group looking to block legislation until Senate takes up "America's debt crisis"

The Florida senator today joined seven other Republicans in vowing to block consideration of any new legislation "until the Senate begins in earnest a long overdue and urgently needed debate on America’s debt crisis.

The letter to Senate Leader Harry Reid was signed by Rubio and his Senate champion, Jim DeMint, and two fellow freshman -- Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky -- who like Rubio got help from DeMint in their GOP primary races against more mainstream candidates backed by the party. Other signees: David Vitter, R-LA, the outgoing John Ensign of Nevada, Jeff Sessions, R-AL and Pat Toomey, R-PA.

 "While there are certainly many issues that warrant the Senate’s consideration, we feel that the Senate must not debate and consider bills at this time that do not affirmatively cut spending, directly address structural budget reforms, reduce government’s role in the economy so businesses can create jobs, or directly address this current financial crisis," they wrote. "We, therefore, are notifying you of our intention to object to the consideration of any legislation that fails to directly address this crisis in a meaningful way."

A spokesman for Reid retorted: "After ignoring jobs for months, Republicans are making it official by vowing to block every bill that creates American jobs."

DeMint last week led a group of Senate conservatives in pledging to block any bill they alone deem wasteful or unconstitutional. Rubio did not join that effort, though it did include three other freshman DeMint helped elect in November.

 Full text of the letter: The Honorable Harry Reid/U.S. Senate Majority Leader/Washington, DC 25015

 Dear Majority Leader Reid:

Yesterday, the Senate voted on two proposals to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.  This debate gave only a limited (three hours) opportunity to debate what many Americans believe is the issue of our time – cutting government spending and dramatically reducing our national debt.  Additionally, no member of the Senate was permitted to offer amendments under the structured process, which in our opinion prevents a full, open, and robust debate. 

"With our national debt poised to reach its $14.3 trillion limit in the very near future, taxpayers expect Congress to work together to reduce wasteful and unnecessary spending and be more vigilant about how we spend public funds. The American people want Congress to deal with the tough issues of cutting spending, and almost every member of the Senate has agreed that we must address our fiscal situation immediately. 

"While there are certainly many issues that warrant the Senate’s consideration, we feel that the Senate must not debate and consider bills at this time that do not affirmatively cut spending, directly address structural budget reforms, reduce government’s role in the economy so businesses can create jobs, or directly address this current financial crisis. 

 "The American people resoundingly rejected the way the Senate waited until Christmas Eve as a mechanism to force hurried debate on President Obama’s massive health care legislation. Voting to proceed to another legislative measure effectively runs away from the central issues of spending and debt and repeats that flawed process.

 "We, therefore, are notifying you of our intention to object to the consideration of any legislation that fails to directly address this crisis in a meaningful way. Our objections would be withheld if the Senate agrees to dedicate significant floor time to debate this issue well in advance of the federal government reaching our statutorily-mandated debt limit.

 "Sincerely,

 "U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), David Vitter (R-LA), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Pat Toomey (R-PA)."

 

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