By Alexander Bolton - 07/11/13 02:41 PM EDT
Republicans should reject stopgap measures to fund the government if Democrats do not agree to defund ObamaCare, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday.
Rubio said Republicans should reject any continuing resolution to fund the government that does not defund the healthcare law.
Rubio, widely considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, argued that the law cannot be implemented without major disruptions to the national economy, pointing to the administration’s decision last week to delay the implementation of the mandate for employer-provided insurance.
“You want to delay implementation? Don’t fund it,” Rubio said. “If we have six-month continuing resolution, we should defund the implementation of ObamaCare by those six months.
“We should not pass a continuing resolution, and I will not vote for a continuing resolution unless it defunds ObamaCare,” he added.
Rubio also challenged his leadership to demand significant budgetary concessions from President Obama in exchange for raising the debt limit.
“We should refuse to raise the debt limit by one single cent unless we pass and the president agrees to sign a budget that shows us how we’re going to begin to get to balance in at least 10 years,” he said.
This would risk a replay of the contentious debt-limit fight of the summer of 2011, which led to trillions of dollars in spending cuts and a downgrade of the nation’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s.
But Rubio argued the risk posed by the nation’s soaring debt load outweighs the general reluctance in Congress to engage in another protracted fiscal fight.
He said producing a balanced 10-year budget plan is a reasonable trade-off for raising the debt limit.
“This is not an unreasonable request,” he said. “They will say that it is, but it’s not. They will say, ‘You’re going to risk default.’ The $17 trillion debt is the risk of default. The lack of any plan to fix it is the risk of default.”
Rubio’s tough comments about healthcare and the deficit are part of an effort to regain his footing with conservatives upset with him for supporting the Senate’s immigration bill. Recent polling showed his support among Republicans dropping by double digits.
Rubio wants to change the conversation to issues where he is in step with the conservative base: fiscal restraint and abortion, to name two of them.
Rubio is also working on legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The Weekly Standard reported last week that Rubio has agreed to be the lead sponsor of the Senate abortion bill.
The Thursday breakfast, part of the Defend & Reform Breakfast series, sponsored by two conservative groups, gave him a platform to speak to the party’s base about his fiscal bona fides.
Concerned Veterans for America is an organization of military veterans focused on budget and regulatory reform and preserving “the freedom and liberty we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.”
The Weekly Standard is an influential conservative magazine that has recently slammed Rubio for supporting the Senate immigration reform bill. On Tuesday, it published a joint editorial with the National Review urging lawmakers to kill the Senate bill.