Sen. Rubio: 'Fiscal cliff' bill will hurt future economic growth

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a possible White House candidate in 2016, said Tuesday he could not support the Senate-passed bill addressing the "fiscal cliff" because it will hurt the economy.

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“Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing. But rapid economic growth and job creation will be made more difficult under the deal reached here in Washington,” he said in a statement, in what could become a rallying cry for skeptical House conservatives.

Rubio said thousands of small businesses will be forced to fire employees because of the income tax increase on family incomes over $450,000, which could affect businesses filing as S corporations and limited-liability corporations.

“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,” he said.

White House officials say the deal will protect 97 percent of small businesses from an income-tax increase.

Rubio also criticized the legislation for adding nearly $4 trillion to the deficit over 10 years while doing little to reduce government spending.

“And to make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control,” he said.