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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio pessimistic about 'supercommittee' success; optimistic about his new jobs bill



Sen. Marco Rubio is not confident the debt "supercommittee" will reach a deal, adding his voice to growing pessimism in Washington as the panel's Nov. 23 deadline nears.

"I’m hopeful that something meaningful will happen," Rubio said during Politico's Playbook Breakfast. "But I wouldn’t put a lot of money on it. I wouldn't put any money on it."

Later, in an interview with Florida reporters, Rubio said: "More than just the supercommittee, I am concerned about the psychological impact on our economy that a failure of this process to act could have. Very concerned.”

Rubio voted against the creation of the committee and contends that Congress at large should hash out the issues. But he said Tuesday that the ideological divide (cuts vs. tax revenue) is a war for the ballot box. "Those big issues like that is what this election needs to be about, the decision this country needs to make about what kind of government it wants to have."

So Rubio is focusing on smaller stuff, the things both sides agree on.

Today, Rubio introduced a jobs package along with Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons that would extend business tax credits and cuts for small businesses, establish a research credit for domestic manufacturers, provide veterans with a tax credit up to $100,000 to start a franchise, streamline employment-based immigrant visas for highly skilled workers, among other things.

Rubio and Coons call it the AGREE Act -- The American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Act. They could not provide estimates on the bill's job creating potential (it has to be "scored" by the Congressional Budget Office) but conceded it would be modest.

"We’re not claiming this bill is earth shattering," Rubio told reporters. "What we did is very simple. We sat down and said 'Ok, let’s find all the things that Republicans, Democrats, the president and everybody agrees on and let’s pass those things.' "

He added, “We’re hope it will have a psychological impact as well on our economy.”

We asked Dan Mitchell, an economist with the Cato Institute, to read over the Rubio-Coons plan.

"The provisions are generally positive," Mitchell said. "Lower tax rates on investing are key for job creation. Temporary tax cuts usually are not effective because businesses and entrepreneurs generally don't make permanent decisions to expand output and hire more workers based on short term tax provisions. But the Rubio-Coons proposal addresses this problem by using three-year windows. Not perfect, but much more likely to boost growth.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 3:19pm]


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