Where he stands: Marco Rubio

Marco Antonio Rubio (born May 28, 1971 in Miami, Fla.,), a Republican, is the junior U.S. Senator from Florida since 2011. He previously served as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

Rubio graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in political science and the University of Miami School of Law. In the late 1990s, he served as a West Miami city commissioner and was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000.

Upon leaving the Florida legislature in 2008, Rubio started a new law firm and also began teaching at Florida International University, where he continues as an adjunct professor.

Rubio won election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. He is one of three Latino Americans serving in the Senate.



Rubio will undo the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Rule, which will dramatically expand federal control over ponds, ditches and streams. Further, he will fight EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and excessive application of the Endangered Species Act, which can, when misused, deem huge swathes of productive land off-limits for agriculture or other development. In the U.S. Senate, he fought the EPA’s attempt to regulate numeric nutrients in Florida waters, and won.

As President, Rubio would fight the establishment of a cap-and-trade program or carbon tax, which would act as a national energy tax on agriculture producers. In addition, he will push for other reforms to reduce energy costs for farmers.

Rubio supports the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which asserts Congress’s role in trade negotiations. He also would push for trade agreements to boost exports for American farmers and ranchers.

Second Amendment

New gun laws would infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans who wish to have a gun for hunting, sport or, most important, the protection of their families.

Rubio has fought to protect the Second Amendment by:

  • Voting to block the Manchin-Bloomberg expansion of background checks.
  • Fighting to defund the Department of Justice’s radical “Operation Choke Point” and other federal attacks on law-abiding gun manufacturers and dealers.
  • Pushing to bring Second Amendment rights back to D.C. residents.
  • Protecting the Second Amendment rights of veterans and their families.
  • Opposing any federal attempt to ban commonly owned sporting rifles and standard capacity magazines.
  • Pushing to make concealed-carry permits function like drivers’ licenses, so gun owners’ constitutional rights don’t end at state lines.
  • Opposing U.S. involvement in the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Working to expand opportunities for sportsmen on federal lands.

Common Core

Rubio began raising concerns about Common Core in 2011, calling federal education governance — such as a mandate to adopt Common Core — unconstitutional, and sponsored legislation to prohibit federal coercion regarding Common Core and ensure that the Department of Education cannot impose standards or curriculum on states.

He will give states and local communities autonomy in education decision-making. He will ensure no federal education funding is tied to mandates. He will issue an executive order directing federal agencies to stop all activity related to implementing or enforcing Common Core.


Some of Rubio’s ideas to get spending under control:

  • Fight for a balanced budget amendment and force Washington to live within its means without raising taxes.
  • Repeal Obamacare.
  • Push for line-item veto authority.
  • Ban pork-barrel earmarks.
  • Reduce the size of the federal workforce in Washington.
  • Stop taxpayer funding of abortions.
  • Prevent massive spending bills.
  • Oppose corporate welfare, such as the Export-Import Bank.
  • Provide taxpayers with the true costs of government spending and the benefits of pro-growth policies.

Eminent domain

Eminent domain is the authority vested in government to force the sale of private property. While this authority is necessary in rare cases related to public development, such as the building of crucial infrastructure, its modern use far exceeds this limitation.

As President, Rubio will:

  • Protect private property rights.
  • Nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court who will fight to protect private property rights.


Affordable, reliable American energy has sparked a manufacturing renaissance. We must take full advantage of our energy potential. To do that, his plan will:

  • Empower states and tribes to control onshore energy development within their borders.
  • Rewrite the five-year offshore drilling plan.
  • Immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Immediately lift the ban on crude exports.
  • Expedite approval of American natural gas exports.
  • Defend U.S. interests in international climate negotiations.
  • Bolster the energy security of U.S. allies.
  • Conclude TTIP negotiations without restrictions on access to U.S. energy exports.
  • Create a national regulatory budget to limit the power of unelected regulators.
  • End carbon mandates.
  • Simplify the environmental review process.
  • Facilitate private-sector-led development of new technologies.
  • Overhaul the tax code and cut taxes for businesses of all sizes.

Health care

  • Provide every American with an advanceable, refundable tax credit that can be used to purchase insurance.
  • Reduce costs, promote innovation and ensure access for the most vulnerable by expanding access to consumer-centered health plans, reforming insurance regulations and putting protections in place to ensure those with pre-existing health conditions can get access to affordable coverage.

    Social Security and Medicare

    As President, Rubio will:

    • Make no changes to Social Security or Medicaid for those in or near retirement.
    • Defend Medicare and Medicare Advantage for current seniors.
    • Gradually increase the Social Security retirement age to keep up with changes in life expectancy.
    • Reduce the rate of growth of benefits for upper-income seniors, while making the program stronger for low-income seniors.
    • Transition Medicare to a premium support system, which would give seniors a generous but fixed amount with which to purchase health insurance. Seniors would have the option of either Medicare or a private provider.
    • Allow the American people to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is now used by members of Congress and other federal employees.
    • Exempt seniors older than 65 who wish to continue working from the payroll tax, strengthening seniors’ nest eggs.
    • Abolish the retirement earnings test, which discourages work and does not help Social Security’s long-term solvency.

Higher education

  • Simplify higher education tax incentives into one simple provision for post-secondary education.
  • Reduce the complexity of the federal financial aid application.
  • Make higher education information (including graduation rates for nontraditional students, transfers rates, student debt, post-graduation earnings and likely employment outcomes) available online.
  • Establish income-based repayment as the universal repayment method for federal student loans.
  • Empower new borrowers to make loan payments in proportion to what they earn, and give graduates the option of consolidating loans into the new, simplified income-based repayment system.
  • Establish a new accrediting entity to ensure quality of courses, review eligibility for financial aid and make credits transferable into the traditional system.
  • Allow students to apply for “Student Investment Plans” from approved investors to help Americans finance post-secondary education without student loans.
  • Establish a framework for students to repay loans based on what they earn after college.
  • Increase access to career and vocational education.
  • Better utilize apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
  • Ease access to state colleges and online educational opportunities.
  • Increase hiring of non-degree-holding workers.


Each year our colleges and universities graduate foreign students who are among the best and the brightest in the world. Instead of putting them to work here, we send them back to China and India to compete against us.

Transitioning to a merit-based, high-skilled immigration system also would help immigrants assimilate more quickly and easily into American economic and civil life. As authors Yuval Levin and Reihan Salam have written, a merit-based system — in conjunction with formal civic education requirements, such as a test on American history and government before being granted a green card — would have the effect of allowing immigrants to integrate more successfully into American communities and reduce the isolation and poverty of many of today’s immigrant communities.

We will never have the votes needed in Congress to modernize our immigration system until the issue of illegal immigration is adequately dealt with.

First, those here illegally must be registered. If they have committed serious crimes or have not been here long enough, they will have to leave. With the new e-verify system in place, they are going to find it difficult to find a job in any case.

Second, those who qualify would be allowed to apply for a temporary nonimmigrant visa. To obtain it they will have to pay an application fee and a fine, undergo a background check and learn English. Once they receive this work permit, they would be allowed to work legally and travel. To keep it, they will have to pay taxes. They would not qualify for government programs like Obamacare, welfare or food stamps. And if they commit a crime while in this status, they would lose their permit.

Third, those who qualify for a nonimmigrant visa will have to remain in this status for at least a decade. After that, they would be allowed to apply for permanent residency if they so choose. Many who qualify for this status will choose to remain in it indefinitely. But those who choose to seek permanent residency would have to do it the way anyone else would.


  • Iran’s leaders will have to choose between having a nuclear weapons program and having an economy. Rubio will back this up with a credible threat of military force if Iran decides to ramp up its program.
  • He will work with Congress to impose tougher sanctions on Iran for its support for terrorism and human rights abuses.


On the military front, Rubio will:

  • Build a multinational coalition willing to send troops into Iraq and Syria with embedded U.S. forces and U.S. logistical and intelligence support to aid local fighters in destroying ISIS safe havens.
  • Expand airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
  • Develop a plan to oust Bashar al-Assad from power, including ramping up training of Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and ISIS and to establish safe zones in Syria.
  • Provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces if Baghdad fails to support them.

On the political front:

  • Counter ISIS recruitment and propaganda by broadcasting U.S. victories.
  • Work with Baghdad to increase Sunni inclusion and autonomy for the provinces.
  • Push back against Iranian influence in Iraq.
  • Coordinate with regional allies to plan for Assad’s fall.
  • Advocate on behalf of and protect ethnic and religious minorities throughout the region.
  • Enhance military and diplomatic efforts to prevent ISIS from further entrenching itself in Afghanistan and Libya, as well as take action to ensure ISIS does not spread to countries such as Jordan.
  • Target ISIS’s financial reserves with sanctions and asset freezes and continue to undermine ISIS’s attempts to exploit oil resources.
  • Expose ISIS’s war crimes and sex trafficking, and recruit disaffected former members to tell their stories.
  • Work with regional partners to prevent foreign jihadists from traveling between their homes and the battlefields.
  • Strengthen U.S. intelligence capabilities to ensure that the U.S. government has the capabilities to track terrorists plotting attacks inside the United States.
  • Boost domestic efforts to detect potential “lone wolf” attackers.
  • Increase efforts to counter ISIS propaganda and recruitment of individuals inside the United States.
  • Halt admissions of refugees from Iraq and Syria until they can be vetted effectively enough to filter out terrorist infiltrators.
  • Enhance the security screening required of travelers coming to the U.S. through the visa waiver program.

K-12 education

Promote local control by:

  • Support bills to give states flexibility and autonomy in their education plans.
  • Push legislation to block the use of waivers not authorized by Congress.
  • Create school-choice tax credits.
  • Increase the availability of charter schools.
  • Expand the portability of school funding for low-income children, military children and special-needs children.

As President, Rubio will:

  • Create a national school choice scholarship program.
  • Ensure parents have the ability to send their children to the school that best suits their educational needs.
  • Prohibit federal mandates on curriculum or standards for states and local educational agencies.
  • Protect student privacy from misuse by third-party vendors or other non-education related entities.
  • Support virtual learning, home schooling and blended learning opportunities.
  • Promote better learning opportunities for students with disabilities


Reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to three:

Marginal Tax Rate Individuals Joint Filers
15% 0 – $75,000 0 – $150,000
25% $75,001 – $150,000 $150,001 – $300,000
35% $150,001+ $300,001+

Simplifies the Tax Code:

  • Cuts taxes.
  • Eliminates itemized deductions and tax “extenders.”
  • Under Rubio’s tax reform plan, the charitable contribution deduction and a reformed mortgage interest deduction would be available to all taxpayers.
  • Creates a $2,000 (individual) / $4,000 (married filing jointly) refundable tax credit in place of the standard deduction: The credit phases out beginning above $150,000 (individual) / $300,000 (married filing jointly) and would be unavailable to taxpayers with an annual income in excess of $200,000 (individual) / $400,000 (married filing jointly).
  • Eliminates the marriage penalty and the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • Consolidates higher education tax incentives into a single $2,500 universal tax credit for the first four years of post-secondary education and costs related to eligible job skill training. The credit phases out between 400 – 500 percent above the federal poverty level.
  • Creates a partially refundable child tax credit of up to $2,500 per child. The child tax credit is applicable to taxpayers’ total income and payroll tax liability, to offset the parent tax penalty. The credit phases out beginning above $150,000 (individual) / $300,000 (married filing jointly) and would be unavailable to taxpayers with an annual income in excess of $200,000 (individual) / $400,000 (married filing jointly).
  • The new child credit is in addition to the current child credit.
  • The new child credit is refundable against the payroll taxes that are the biggest tax burden on low-income families.
  • Provides a 25% non-refundable tax credit to any business offering between four and 12 weeks of paid family leave, limited to $4,000 per worker. The credit is adaptable to all employee arrangements, including part-time work. It applies in a number of situations where workers have qualifying family or medical events, including a newborn child in need of care, an elderly parent with declining health, a personal health crisis or a spouse’s military deployment.
  • Integrates all business income into a single tax rate no higher than 25%.
  • Brings parity to the taxation of all businesses, big and small.
  • Allows immediate expensing of capital expenditures (equipment, structures, inventories and land), ending depreciation schedules.
  • For American companies and individuals doing business overseas, eliminates the double-taxation of income earned abroad by transitioning to a competitive territorial tax system. For currently deferred overseas earnings, the plan provides a 6% deemed repatriation rate, payable over 10 years.
  • Eliminates carve-outs benefiting large corporations and high-tax states.
  • Taxes all business income once at the entity level and eliminates double-taxation of saving and investment income.
  • Provides a transition period, which requires a one-time booking of investment at current law capital gains and dividend rates, minus the 3.8% investment tax hike from Obamacare.
  • Immediately eliminates the federal estate tax, which penalizes family-owned farms and businesses and reduces saving and investment in our economy.
  • Fully removes interest from the tax base; interest income is no longer taxable or deductible.
  • Ends the bias in favor of debt rather than equity.

Wednesday: Bernie Sanders


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