If there was any doubt that Marco Rubio intends to run for president in 2016, those thoughts should be vanquished this New Years Day after the Florida Senator was only of only eight members of that body to reject a cobbled together last-hour proposal designed to alleviate the so-called "fiscal cliff" earlier this morning.
The U.S. Senate voted 89-8 at around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning to approve a package that would avert tax hikes and major spending cuts designed to go into effect officially tomorrow, January 2. However, passage in the more conservative House of Representatives is still very much uncertain at this hour.
The legislation contains a number of major provisions, but the big one is this: Taxes would not go up for any individual earning less than $400,000 and couples earning less than $450,000. That's a higher number than what President Obama campaigned on all year long - Obama wanted to have taxes go up for any individual making $200,000, or couples making $250,000. However, tax deductions and credits would start phasing out on incomes as low as $250,000.
The bill delays for two months the automatic domestic and defense spending cuts known as sequestration - a victory for Republicans, as Democrats wanted that deadline to be extended much longer. Other provisions in the Senate bill include taxes on inherited taxes going up to 40 percent from 35 percent, unemployment insurance being extended for 2 million people (at a cost of $30 billion). The alternative minimum would be permanently adjusted for inflation, and child care, tuition and research and development tax credits would be renewed.
But that wasn't good enough of a compromise for Senator Rubio, who said in a statement issued just before 10 a.m. today that though he "appreciated" the effort made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to "make the best out of a bad situation," he could not support the plan.
Rubio was joined by fellow Tea Party favorites Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky in rejecting the bill. The two other Republicans who also voted no were Iowa's Chuck Grassley and Alabama's Richard Shelby.