Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Tuesday accused President Obama of trying to "put a trophy in his trophy case” during "fiscal cliff" talks, by appealing to the "left-wing base of his party."
The Florida lawmaker, rumored as one of the GOP's top presidential contenders in 2016, went on in an interview on Fox Business Network to pan the president's deficit proposal as a "terrible idea" and said Obama was "not shooting straight."
Rubio repeatedly hammered the president over his insistence that tax rates on the wealthiest Americans rise, and pledged not to vote for any plan that hiked rates on any income group.
"It raises taxes on small businesses," Rubio said. "It’s a terrible idea and he should fix it. And he should stop saying it’s about millionaires and billionaires; millionaires and billionaires can take care of themselves. This is about small businesses for me."
The Tea Party favorite claimed raising rates would eliminate so many small-business jobs that projected revenue growth would not occur.
"At the end of the day, it won’t [raise revenue] because they’re going to kill jobs and you’re not going to collect the money he claims it’s going to collect," said Rubio.
"You create revenue through new taxpayers, not through new taxes," he added. "Economic growth is the only way to solve our problems. We cannot tax our way out of this."
The House GOP has offered a deficit plan with $800 billion in new revenue from closing loopholes and deductions.
The White House contends, however, that it would not be possible to generate enough revenue merely by closing loopholes and deductions, saying that the only way the government could generate enough tax dollars for a "balanced approach" without raising rates would be to limit popular deductions on charitable giving or mortgages.
The White House has also said that 97 percent of small businesses would not see a tax increase under their plan.
But Rubio contended it was too risky to change tax rates now, especially as unemployment numbers continued to fall.
"That’s why this makes no sense to me," Rubio said. "It doesn’t make any sense why he’s pushing for this other than he wants to score a victory for the left-wing base of his party and put a trophy in his trophy case. And that’s not good public policy.”
The Florida Republican reiterated that he would not vote for "anything that kills jobs."
"Here’s why that’s so important: If in fact the rates go up because the president refuses to budge, then he’ll have to answer for that next year when our economy isn’t growing, when unfortunately people lose their jobs," Rubio said.