Sens. Rubio and Coons on Bipartisan Jobs Bill

Working across party lines on jobs bill, plus the debt divide and 2012 stakes.
21:22 | 11/22/11

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Transcript for Sens. Rubio and Coons on Bipartisan Jobs Bill
Senator thank you very much for joining me ask you first -- rubio. You have said that this is not an shattering bill that you're proposing just how many jobs do you think it will creates. Well we're not claiming to know that number we notably more than what we have now and that's what's important to -- helps real people these are ideas that came from job creators of some of its extending existing law to give another -- certainty to job creators. And others are things that are -- that came for example from the franchise association this idea of giving veterans. A credit on their taxes against the cost of the franchise fees the end but but I mean the bigger picture and this is not just this defense specific proposals. But we believe that one of the things that's holding back economic activity is all the bad news an impending bad news that's coming out of Washington and we feel like -- we can show people. That there are things we can work on together that there is a glimmer of hope in Washington that we are able to agree on the things we agree on. We hope to be able to get the ball rolling on a little bit of confidence over the next twelve months. Or let me ask you senator who -- -- little bit of confidence is what's needed here. Obviously in the senate senator Reid holds the cards in terms of bringing bringing it to a vote. Is there any indication do you have that he would embrace this agree act of -- and actually. Act on it bring it to a vote. Well Chris -- we've gotten very positive responses from folks in leadership. From the White House and obviously from our colleagues a number of whom have already stepped forward to offer co sponsorship. I disagree act has been introduced in the house as well with a Republican any democratic. Cosponsor and a senator rubio -- we jury these ideas from a broad range of sources but most importantly. From the president's jobs bill as well as from the president's council on jobs and competitiveness. One of the leaders on that counsel Steve case that came in spoke with us when we introduce the bill spoke very strongly about it. I think this is a balanced bipartisan. Constructive package of ideas that can help move the economy forward and I'm confident that leader Reid wants to make. Make whatever progress we can in moving legislation that will help create jobs. But bottom line senator rubio is something as innocuous as this and you both saying that it is as -- as simple thing that everybody's already sort of agreed on the need the element summit. If this can't get through. What kind of message does that send -- Libya but that's and that's exactly right and that's our point our point is that there is no reason for this not to pass you know. I think people at home certainly in Florida. -- a cross the country understand that there are big differences between Republicans and Democrats in the understand that's why we're gonna have an election next -- to decide that. What they don't understand is why do you guys fight about the things you agree on and so we did is we just sat down and went try to collect a few things that we in several people had agreed on a bipartisan way -- at least let's pass those. We can't sit around for twelve months and do nothing. And so that's that's what we're hoping to do here but you -- -- very important question. It's something like this can't get traction -- something like this can't pass. And what does it say about our process look at -- it should pass and my hope is that it will critically important that something like this does pass otherwise I mean I don't know what will pass. Well precisely that and you both of said that this is not a substitute for the really dodge. Reforms that have to happen. And perhaps we'll have to wait for the next election do you agree with that a -- -- is nothing big on reform and deficit -- and -- of that. Going to happen until the next election. But we have been able to make bipartisan progress in this senate although it's not widely known things says. Brought -- the patent bill as the free trade agreement as the recent bail on veterans jobs we have been able to get some things through. But all agree with your -- with your premise but your question that on the larger issues about how to tackle the deficit. How to deal with getting jobs create in this country and how to get our fiscal house in order there seems to be a persistent divide. Between my party and senator rubio as party we have a difference of opinion. -- in my view my parties the one it continually advocates for everything on the table. -- -- brought -- balanced solution that includes revenue as well as considering entitlements. And as long as we can't get to some agreement about how to put everything on a table and how to tackle. A bigger package I do think we're gonna have to wait for the next election for a clear signal from the American people about what value they put. On protecting our commitments to America's seniors and the most vulnerable in our country who currently -- entitlement programs as a critical part. Supporting them as they move through life. A sense rubio -- senator who's just talked about revenue and of course all of this is at play now in the super committee. And buying all accounts there's a huge amount of pessimism people do not believe the super committee is going to actually. Come up with what is said it was going to do you really -- by the way both of you do you think that this is not -- what senator rubio. Well first liner thought the super committee was a good idea and second -- hope -- does work out of the so much is at stake but I wanna say something actually in defense of the Democrats on the super committee. As I blame the White House for a little -- -- leadership on this I mean the White House is never indicated to them how far they can go on making concessions. How father for example on entitlement reform and I think it's very difficult for the Democrats on that committee. -- attuned to enter into a negotiation not knowing the White House is they don't wanna get their legs cut out underneath them and they agree to some entitlement reform measures that later on the White House decides. They don't want to support an election year -- I really think again I don't know where -- probably agree bell and certainly that's a bipartisan piece of legislation. But I think we have to look I have personally look at the White House as largely to blame -- the super committee doesn't move forward. -- senator -- what about that you know President Obama was Robin key in shaping that you know the efforts to do to make the -- committee. And yet he has been reluctant to get involved. As it comes down to the -- should he be involved more should -- be more of President Obama in these final stretch. Well I think the vice president and the president we're very actively involved in negotiations. Earlier this year directly with -- cancer directly the speaker Boehner. And I think they may have significant frustration obviously I don't speak for them. But they may have come away from those experiences earlier this year a deeply frustrated about the inability to reach a responsible compromise. Obviously I was -- in the room. But the press reports about where those conversations went. Suggested that both the vice president and president were willing to make. Significant compromises but weren't -- to make profound cuts in the entitlement programs that are the legacy. And FDR -- the progressive wing of our party that they weren't willing to make fundamental compromise on things of principle so my sense is that where the super committee is today. Is gonna rely on a willingness to compromise by Democrats and Republicans house and senate. I am hopeful although not optimistic that they will achieve their one point two trillion dollar goal. But even if they don't the -- that we voted in. That the congress enacted will make those tough cuts so it's my hope that the markets will not punish us that we won't face a downgrade. Because there will be some very real cuts congress should not try to roll back. The deficit reductions that are part of the process that the super committee puts in -- it's. Senator -- do you agree with what many annual party say public -- constantly. That's. President Obama doesn't -- -- want the super committee to succeed wanted to fail in order to be able to run against a do nothing congress. -- again I hate question in people's motives but I do believe there's -- political strategy involved here and I certainly think the president would like to run against the do nothing congress for example. We pass the free trade agreement earlier this year as one of the most important pieces of legislation you can imagine in terms of economic growth. There was no bill signing ceremony there was no sort of attention called to it now and that nothing was in play for very long time. And and again look up I really -- -- get this piece of legislation passed I think it's incumbent on both Republicans and Democrats the line. Line up behind the agree act but it doesn't move forward we have to ask ourselves not just the White House but others involved. Are these folks not committed to getting something done because they think it's their political -- to their political advantage. To prevent things from happening in an election year and I do believe. That there are people in the White House and in the administration that would much rather run against the do nothing congress. And but I hope that doesn't stand in the way of meaningful legislation -- particularly out of the super committee senator -- I have to remain confident that there are folks in both parties. Who want to put Americans back to work who want to deal with our deficit who want to do it and responsible way. But certainly a lot of the challenges of the past year the first year that -- served in the senate. Has been intransigence in the other party in a refusal to make compromise on a a tax pledge -- to Grover Norquist and my concern is that. We hear the very large range of voices across this country from the water coolers and workplaces to the home -- dinner tables in middle class families all over America who are joining the Occupy Wall Street folks in saying. We need to pay attention to the 99% of Americans whose economic picture has not gotten brighter the last decade who haven't really deeply benefited from the significant tax cuts. There were enacted under the previous administration. And we have to look at a fiscal solution that will put everything on the table that we'll get our economy moving again and they'll put a floor under the real anxiety out there in the world. But I was optimistic about in working with senator rubio was that we might send a message to our colleagues and to the country. That even a Democrat and Republican from quite different backgrounds with different political ideologies can work in the common interest of this country. Can find a package of common sense proposals that will get people back to work. And that's what I'm celebrating about our jointly introducing the agree act in the past week. What I see you nodding in agreement senator -- so let me ask -- because -- -- -- along with many of -- -- the majority of -- colleagues have signed. The grove and no nor -- no tax pledge so. If you though you have one of the most conservative members of the subcommittee. Senator Pat Toomey. Who has decided that he could go for a compromise which include some 300. Billion dollars in new taxes but also maintains the bush era tax cut is that something -- could go for all. Well look got my personal preference my ideal preference I think -- be -- his preference is to get new revenue out of economic growth not -- a new taxes and essence. Having a tax payers not having new taxes but I think it -- a lot about Pat Toomey about the seriousness of the work that he's trying to put in. That he is able to make concessions like that I mean -- is the president of the Club for Growth. But ultimately the Club for Growth as they pointed out this week -- in favor of growth. A growing our economy and I think senator team has become convinced that of the super committee fails we don't do something. At -- deal with our debt economic growth is going to be severely impacted -- -- -- be respectful of that I'm not in the room we don't know really the details of those plans because they pledged. To each other to keep it quiet which is one of the problems that I have with a super committee. But I do think it says a lot about him. And the folks like him trying to negotiate in good faith. That they're willing to move beyond positions they originally enacted because there are adopted because there's so serious about trying to solve this problem. So you say you respected you and I'm not hearing you say you agree with what you -- -- -- -- two. The concept comes I have the other parts of the problem I have -- is I don't know the details of and it -- about raising taxes. Well my preference remains not to raise tax rates. And for the same reasons the president of the United States Barack Obama outlined in December of last year when he said it was wrong in a bad idea to raise taxes on anyone in the middle of a recession I think our economy is as bad if not worse today than it wasn't December of last year when he said that if it was a bad idea to raise taxes last year. When the economy was bad why is -- a good idea to raise -- now when the economy is worse. Many quickly go to good we we we touch briefly on the idea if the super committee doesn't work there will be these automatic draconian cots. Do both of you think. That these cuts will go through -- will they be congressional. Wrangling and this will be delayed all -- written all simply. That won't be this the -- -- -- question. -- -- Well -- that's the main point here is that I've joined many other senators about 45 of us in urging the super committee to go big. To look at a broad range of different sources from which we can find savings to get our fiscal house in order. I think we need to have defense and non defense domestic. Tax revenue and entitlements all on the table and a significant number of senators and congressman have joined in that view. If all we've got on the table is the more narrow field of just cuts from defense and from non defense domestic discretionary spending. To make up a significant deficit we've got. Isn't going to get us there we're gonna have to make I think punishing cuts. In the areas of federal activity education innovation. Infrastructure that we need to be investing in in order to grow our economy and to get stronger again but so it's my hope that ultimately coming out of the super committee there'll be a reconsideration. Of the need to tackle a broader range of issues in order to strengthen our economy. You know Leon Panetta secretary of defense has been pleading for these draconian defense cuts not to happen -- -- -- kind of been out of -- in his own party in being quite tough on what needs to happen on entitlements. How will the park -- get behind that will the party get tough on entitlements. Well I think to that point I just made I think if we can focus on the broader challenge. Which is finding at least four trillion dollars in the next decade in savings in deficit reduction. Stabilize our debt deal with our deficits we can strengthen our economy. If it simply stays a zero sum game a fight between. No defense cuts are no reforms to entitlement no raising taxes or no increase in revenue through comprehensive tax reform. No investment to grow our economy. We will simply continue to sink as a country and we all risk I think a double dip recession so my hope is that both out of the super committee. Out of the bipartisan group that's urging going big and out of this bill that senator rubio and I have introduced last week. The people of the United States can draw some encouragement. That there are folks of goodwill who are willing to look past their pledges in the narrow partisan divide. And find common ground to grow our economy can -- our country. We have to do that and that's what's in the best interest of our national defense of serving our seniors and of respecting the values that have been the foundation of this country from its beginning. So I choose optimism. And in my view we can and should embrace this moment of bipartisanship that senator rubio and I have started and make progress from here. Senator rubio kinda switch to an action 2012. You new to Washington -- -- view of freshman senators. Governor Rick Perry says that if he wins congress will be a part time job. It's not a good. -- -- -- -- I don't I didn't -- You know ultimately first of October is it's always popular run against congress and I think it's always popular. To and I so we have my problem congresswoman things I tell people -- -- look at the stuff that happens in Washington. And neither senator who's -- have been -- long enough to think any of it is normal I mean we we we get that this is not the way things should be and I certainly share people's frustration -- this process and and and I would really get frustrated -- the lack of urgency so I think you know it's. Governor the governor says pointing to these things on the campaign trail because he's hearing it from the American people but we'll talk time is -- -- -- Black I think what will work better as a congress actually works the -- actually have a sense of urgency. About the dramatic issues that face our country I think that's what we need we and and I would hope that that that would have a congress that gets serious about the issues that were facing. One of -- -- congressman one of defendants' sentences quote Republican recently said it's this super committee if this congress cannot come up. Was one point two trillion dollars in deficit costing. Then that's a complete failure of leadership. And it he said we deserve to be downgraded. Just an indictment using -- -- -- to be downgraded if it doesn't what. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- None -- -- -- -- gonna say I'm and we certainly I I understand the point he's making and that the point he's making is that it it would be an indictment on our political process. And on the and willingness of them willingness of the political class in America to the only significant issues that by the way didn't crop up overnight musicians have been going on for -- -- we knew this day was coming and we know what lies ahead we need to look no further than Europe to understand what lies ahead. Unless we take these issues seriously and I think that's what senator corpus pointing out when he says that. Senators -- -- -- to be downgraded if this doesn't work. Well I'm I'm certainly hopeful that all of us in Washington we'll take very seriously the caution. That we've gotten from the bond rating agencies what's unfolding in Europe ought to be really concerning to everybody. In this country. Right now I'm Greece and Ireland and Iceland and other countries in Europe have a math problem there economies can't possibly produce enough surplus enough revenue. To deal with their debts in the short term. Today in America we have a leadership problem but we still have the opportunity. To right our ship to make a bipartisan compromises we need to to get our economy back on track. By dealing with a very significant challenges that face us in terms of the size of federal spending and the absence of -- a federal revenue. If we can reduce our spending and raise our revenue in a responsible way. We can still get back on track as a country. And if we can get together across this partisan divide I think this is actually a great moment of opportunity for America competitively. -- as we see many of our competitors in Europe. In significant turmoil. We see in a number of our competitors and Asia facing significant problems with environmental issues with their growth with their. Need to deal with internal domestic divides so in my view we ought to come together as a country and see this as a moment of opportunity. Where we can just get past the partisan divides if we can make some -- and responsible compromises we can fix our -- we can get on the right path. And we can strengthen our economy in a way that would allow us to grow forward. That is a passionate defense of of -- you think the country should be headed -- rubio allows twenty you. Do you believe that the agree acted you both have proposed which sounds eminently sensible is -- will get through. Yes I think ultimately are people gonna look at and say it's full of things they support. And and I think it will get past I have to be hopeful it will get past because if -- doesn't. -- I think we're worse off than any of us thought we. Aside and just -- you one last question on 2012. Use a -- a very close to to congressman Newt Gingrich the -- -- speak up. And of course you've been watching this past week he's faced a torrent of criticism from all sorts of sides from taking consultant's fees from businesses like Freddie. Freddie Mac -- trap. Is this. -- -- it isn't is that kind of revolving door Washington. That the people hate so much how much is booing you want 19% approve rates. Well you know -- -- speaker Gingrich has been involved in politics -- been scrutinized publicly for the better part of two decades and I think he's. Expected this would happen as part of this campaign I think it's part of a presidential campaign ad accusing knowledge that it's part of a presidential campaign and here's what I'm confident I'm confident that we're gonna nominate someone. Who's going to be a vibrant candidate. To stand up and be a clear alternative to the direction. The president's gonna take our country I can't tell you Zack and who that's going to be right now that anybody can but I think certainly speaker Gingrich has earned the right to be in the mix and its interest in what he's been able to do with this campaign over the last couple months you think he can be President Obama. I think any of the Republican candidates -- but what do I put into this way I believe and I am confident that we will nominate someone that I only can be President Obama Obama but in my opinion opinion should be the president. Given the president's track record if you compare where we are today to worry he was on where we were on the day he swore and everything is worse off he inherited a bad economy but he's made it worse. So depends and you have -- would now make the case they're reenacting. President Obama without once mentioning the -- Republican. That's an interesting challenge because in my view. One of the challenges that the president has faced is -- coming -- very significant challenges. That he and the vice president inherited from the previous administration. I think he has worked diligently intelligently. Responsibly to deal with record deficits two wars overseas. And significant challenges in income inequality and in a lack of innovation. I see him as someone who has made tough choices who has made progress -- -- making our country more fair and more just more respected around the world and safer. I think he's responsible as commander in chief. For responsibly winding up the war in Iraq for killing Osama bin Laden and for taking the war to al-Qaeda in a way that wasn't happening previously so in my view. Overseas and at home he has a record he can run -- I am hopeful that in the next year we will see a strong candidate both parties debating with each other the core issues that the American people want to -- -- resolve. What's the priority that we're going to place and preserving Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security for the next generation of beneficiaries. What are the steps we're gonna take. To strengthen and renew innovation and competitiveness in this country so that our children and grandchildren have a stronger country in which they can grow up. And what are the choices we have to make to deal with our deficit and to promote responsible growth in this country. That creates opportunity for us for this century. I do think President Obama offers the better path forward on all of those. But more than anything I hope we'll have a clear and positive debate. That allows congress to move forward after the 2012 election. Senator Chris -- senator Marco Rubio thank you very much indeed for joining me. Thank you thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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