Sen. Rubio has a chance to truly shake up Washington


On Nov. 8, Floridians flatly rejected the economic and political status quo that works for a lucky few while hurting the rest of us. They rightly see the unfairness of what has become the political norm.

Americans have been trampled under the burdens of Obamacare, higher taxes, and a host of corporate welfare schemes — propped up by both parties — that have helped the well-connected few get ahead while working taxpayers fall further behind.

Floridians have reelected Sen. Marco Rubio to undo the damage of the past eight years and get Washington working for the people again.

Now it’s up to Rubio to prove that he can get the job done — especially when it comes to four key areas: repealing Obamacare, cutting off cronyism, simplifying the tax code and reining in government spending.

First, Floridians are looking to Rubio to relieve Americans from the harm of Obamacare. Republicans have been pledging to repeal the law since it was enacted. Now’s their chance, and the case for doing so has never been more evident.

In Florida, Obamacare premiums are set to rise by 17 percent across the board, with some plans rising by as much as 36 percent.

And that doesn’t account for the increasing out-of-pocket costs and narrowing options.

Now, all but 10 of Florida’s counties only have one or two insurers to choose from on the exchange.

The trend in Florida is just a snapshot of what’s happening across the country. That’s one reason Americans overwhelmingly elected lawmakers opposed to the broken law. Now, Rubio must work for Floridians to enact healthcare reform that restore true affordability and choice.

Second, Florida voters sent Rubio back to Washington to stop the political favoritism in Washington.

Whether it’s the Export-Import Bank, tax giveaways or government subsidies, there are thousands of federal programs that benefit special interests at the rest of our expense.

Rubio can level the playing field for all by rejecting any form of corporate welfare, including reversing his position on sugar subsidies.

In just a few weeks, the senator will have his first chance to root out corporate welfare by letting dozens of tax-giveaways expire, including billions of dollars in tax credits to NASCAR, Hollywood studios and rum manufacturers, among others.

This will be an important marker for the newly reelected senator to show his commitment to standing up for the people against corporate welfare.

It’s also a necessary precursor to fundamental tax reform.

If Rubio and other Republicans fail to end the tax breaks this year, how can they hope to simplify the tax code and undo even more special-interest carve-outs in a few months from now?

Which brings me to the third opportunity for putting the people first: simplifying the tax code. The tax code is full of $1.5 trillion in exemptions and corporate handouts, an amount equivalent to nearly half of annual federal revenue.

Rubio and his Republican colleagues have the best shot in more than a decade to wipe out all these special-interest loopholes and unleash opportunity for everyone.

Finally, Rubio must stop the out-of-control government spending that’s setting us up for financial disaster. At our current rate of spending, the $19.8-trillion-and-growing debt will outpace our gross domestic product in just a few decades.

If Republicans delay spending reform for even one or two years, they will be driving us toward an economic catastrophe within our lifetime.

Rubio will have ample opportunities to rein in spending, starting with maintaining the 2011 Budget Control Act spending limits and making sure that any debt-ceiling increase includes restraining automatic spending.

People across the Sunshine State voted for Rubio because they believe he has the courage to reform Washington.

It’s not an easy task, but it’s one that’s well worth the fight — and it’s also what Floridians are demanding.

If he decides he’d rather maintain the status quo, I am confident the voters will make themselves heard again in years to come.

Chris Hudson is the state director of Americans for Prosperity.