The U.S. Senate refused to vote Thursday on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s bid to stop giving welfare benefits to Cuban immigrants, prompting an exasperated Rubio to take to the Senate floor to blast political paralysis in Congress.
“This is why people are so sick of politics,” said Rubio, who noted that, until a month ago, he was a Republican presidential candidate hearing from voters about their frustrations with lawmakers. “You can vote for a Democrat, you can vote for a Republican, you can vote for a vegetarian. It doesn’t matter who you vote for: Nothing happens. These people don’t do anything.”
“No one can argue this,” he added of his proposal, which he argued would put an end to abuse by some Cubans who take the welfare dollars back to the island. “But I can’t even get a vote on an amendment to change this.”
And why not? According to Rubio, because fellow Republicans tell him, “‘We can’t vote on it because if we give you your amendment, then we have to give the other side their amendment.’” (The other side being Democrats.)
“This is crazy. This is nuts. We can’t solve problems,” Rubio said. He noted the plan has bipartisan support: U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, is a cosponsor in the House of Representatives. Florida’s senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, signed on to Rubio’s bill Thursday, saying the welfare benefits “were meant to help those fleeing persecution by Castro’s oppressive regime, not to be a source of income for those who returned to Cuba.”