- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2013

Warning that the nation is on the “road to decline,” Sen. Marco Rubio called on Congress Thursday to defund “Obamacare” and not raise the nation’s debt limit until the White House agrees to a plan to bring the budget into balance within 10 years.

Mr. Rubio said that Obamacare is choking economic growth and that Congress should not support any short-term spending bills to keep government running if they fund the health care law.

“I believe that we should not vote, nor pass, a continuing resolution unless that continuing resolution defunds Obamacare,” Mr. Rubio said. “You want to delay implementation, don’t fund it.”

Mr. Rubio also said that Congress should not agree to raise the nation’s borrowing limit “a single cent” until lawmakers pass and Mr. Obama signs off on a spending plan that shows how the federal budget will be balanced in 10 years.

“This is not an unreasonable request,” Mr. Rubio said. “They will say that it is, but it is not. They will say, ‘Well you are going to risk default.’ The $17 trillion debt is a risk of default. The lack of any plan to fix it is the risk of default — and not a statutory default, a real default.”

The freshman lawmaker and potential 2016 presidential candidate delivered the keynote address at the Concerned Veterans for America and The Weekly Standard’s second ‘Defend & Reform’ breakfast event, which focused on the $16.7 trillion national debt.

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In March, Congress passed a short-term spending bill to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year, which runs through Sept. 30.

The move has set the stage for another budget showdown this fall where Republicans will try once again to gut Mr. Obama’s health care law and force Democrats to accept more spending cuts to help reduce the nation’s annual deficits.

Mr. Rubio said the administration has had the wrong priorities. Instead of focusing on reducing the debt, reshaping the tax code and tapping into the nation’s domestic energy industry, Mr. Obama has pushed for tighter gun control laws, same-sex marriage and a climate change agenda.

Mr. Rubio said that the Republicans should move in an opposite direction by pursuing a pro-growth agenda that takes advantage of the nation’s oil, coal and natural gas resources, reforms the tax code and reduces government regulations to encourage more investment and risk in America.

“Before we doing any of this, we have to convince the majority of our fellow American that the road we are on today will lead us to decline,” Mr. Rubio said. “We are going to have to convince them that we can all be better off without having to make anyone worse off. That we don’t need a government that picks winners and losers. What we need are leaders that believe we can all be winners.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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