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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio and others threaten Senate blockade



Sen. Marco Rubio and seven other Republicans are threatening to try to block business in the Senate unless the chamber "begins in earnest a long overdue and urgently needed debate on America’s debt crisis."

A letter to Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was signed by Rubio, David Vitter, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Jeff Sessions and Pat Toomey. Text below.

March 10, 2011
The Honorable Harry Reid
U.S. Senate
Majority Leader
Washington, DC 25015
Dear Majority Leader Reid:
Yesterday, the Senate voted on two proposals to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.  This debate gave only a limited (three hours) opportunity to debate what many Americans believe is the issue of our time – cutting government spending and dramatically reducing our national debt.  Additionally, no member of the Senate was permitted to offer amendments under the structured process, which in our opinion prevents a full, open, and robust debate. 
With our national debt poised to reach its $14.3 trillion limit in the very near future, taxpayers expect Congress to work together to reduce wasteful and unnecessary spending and be more vigilant about how we spend public funds.  The American people want Congress to deal with the tough issues of cutting spending, and almost every member of the Senate has agreed that we must address our fiscal situation immediately. 
While there are certainly many issues that warrant the Senate’s consideration, we feel that the Senate must not debate and consider bills at this time that do not affirmatively cut spending, directly address structural budget reforms, reduce government’s role in the economy so businesses can create jobs, or directly address this current financial crisis. 
The American people resoundingly rejected the way the Senate waited until Christmas Eve as a mechanism to force hurried debate on President Obama’s massive health care legislation.  Voting to proceed to another legislative measure effectively runs away from the central issues of spending and debt and repeats that flawed process.
We, therefore, are notifying you of our intention to object to the consideration of any legislation that fails to directly address this crisis in a meaningful way.  Our objections would be withheld if the Senate agrees to dedicate significant floor time to debate this issue well in advance of the federal government reaching our statutorily-mandated debt limit.
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), David Vitter (R-LA), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Pat Toomey (R-PA)

[Last modified: Thursday, March 10, 2011 2:32pm]


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