By GARY FINEOUT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A snapshot of where Florida Sen. Marco Rubio stands on issues likely to be debated during the Republican presidential primaries, as he enters the race.
Rubio, whose parents emigrated from Cuba, was a co-author of a bipartisan immigration overhaul that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Rubio backed off the issue, after the measure came under fire from conservatives, saying it could not win enough support in Congress.
Rubio now says that border security must be improved first, followed by revamping the process now used to allow people to immigrate. Rubio has been sharply critical of the Obama administration’s executive actions on immigration, saying that the president has exceeded his constitutional power.
Rubio has been a consistent critic of Obama’s foreign policy efforts, including the president’s dealings with Latin American countries which he has called naive, timid and neglectful. Rubio has been a leading critic of Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic ties to Cuba and called it a “victory for oppressive governments.”
His championing of American exceptionalism makes him more of hawk than some of his rivals. He was among 47 senators who signed a letter warning that Congress could upend the deal being worked out by the U.S., Iran and others to control Tehran’s nuclear program. The letter infuriated the White House, which considered the diplomatic deal the best way to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.
BUDGETS AND ENTITLEMENTS
Rubio, like many Republicans, has called for the repeal of Obama’s health care law. Although he’s criticized the growth of entitlement programs, he has called for increasing military spending. Rubio and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton wrote an opinion piece in March saying the armed forced will be “dangerously unready to deploy” if Congress does not reverse recent cuts to military spending.
This spring, he and Utah Sen. Mike Lee introduced a proposed overhaul of the tax code that would reduce the number of income tax brackets and reduce the corporate tax rate while also creating a new $2,500 child credit.
Last year, he proposed a dramatic overhaul of the nation’s anti-poverty programs. The main thrust of the proposal called for placing most of the programs into one central agency that would then hand out grants to states that would design their own programs.
COMMON CORE AND EDUCATION
Rubio opposes Common Core school standards and has been critical of federal support for the standards, saying it appears to be part of an effort to have a “national school board” impose a national curriculum.
That sets him apart from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, one of Common Core’s architects. Rubio backs school choice programs, including offering taxpayer-paid scholarships that let children attend private schools.
Rubio has consistently supported abortion restrictions during his political career. He’s said the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned. In 2013 he was co-sponsor of a bill that would have banned abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, but included exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the woman.
Rubio said decisions whether to allow same-sex marriage should be left to states. He’s criticized judges for overturning bans of gay marriage and has said that some who support gay marriage have been hypocritical because they have been intolerant of those who do not agree with them.
He opposed a medical marijuana initiative that was on the 2014 ballot in his home state, but he did support legislation in Florida that authorized the limited use of a non-euphoric strain of the drug.
Rubio has acknowledged that the climate is changing, but he has expressed skepticism that it is being caused by human activity. He has also said that the threat of climate change does not justify pursuing policies that he contends would harm the economy.