dark mode light mode Search

Exclusive – Sen. Marco Rubio: “Convincing Working People That Their Government Cares About What They Care About”

For the launch of PolicySphere, we wanted to talk with one of the most influential and policy-focused officials on the center and right-of-center, and Sen. Marco Rubio’s name was an obvious choice. We asked him about the policymaking environment this year, and some of his priorities: banning TikTok, confronting the China threat (including on topics like industrial policy), life, immigration, Florida, and more.

If you were forwarded this and are wondering what is PolicySphere, here is our post explaining that. And you should give us your email here:

We thought it was a very interesting discussion. Here it is, lightly edited for clarity:

PolicySphere: People say nothing gets done on the policy front in an election year. This year seems particularly policy-free. Do you think anything will get done this year? If so, what?

Sen. Marco Rubio: Politics is a constant campaign at this point. There really is no “off” year.

I think we’ll get some things done, but landmark changes will be difficult. We’ll fund the government. We’ll pass the National Defense Authorization Act. That’s not nothing, but it’s not as much as Americans want from their legislators.

The mass migration issue and this administration’s unwillingness to abide by current law are particularly egregious. We have criminal gangs from Venezuela murdering Americans. Just this week, we tried to vote on an amendment that would require aliens who assault police officers to be deported. Who would disagree with that? Democrats wouldn’t allow the amendment to be taken up.

It’s frustrating, because I ran for office to solve problems, and America has some big problems. Instead, we spend most days voting on nominees.

The challenge here is that we are an incredibly divided nation. The differences between left and right are so dramatic. Ultimately, what you see in Washington reflects that. Still, it’s too bad.

What’s your own agenda for the rest of the year?

Regardless of the Senate’s inability to tackle our nation’s problems in a meaningful way, I’m focused on ensuring Florida and the nation are secure.

As Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it’s my job to keep the administration accountable and push them to recognize China for what it is – our greatest adversary. Our industrial policy needs to reflect this. Our telecommunication policy needs to reflect this. Our supply chain needs to reflect this.

I was the first senator to introduce a ban on TikTok – I’ve been talking about the issue since 2019. It looks like there may be some movement on it. But there are other problems, too. A lot of Americans may be unaware that over the past few years, our government has given billions of taxpayer dollars to the Chinese military’s research and development efforts. If that sounds crazy, it is. I have a bill in the works to stop it.

We also have to stop the flood of subsidized Chinese imports into our country, including cheap Chinese cars taking advantage of our trade loopholes. I have a bill to protect American automakers.

If we get a chance to vote on the House-passed tax package, I want to make sure the child tax credit stays connected to tax liability. Otherwise, the Democrats win, because they’ve been trying to turn this pro-family policy into a cash welfare program for decades. At the same time, I do want to expand the child tax credit, because it’s lost 20 percent of its value since 2017, due to inflation. With the right reforms, we can pass a bigger child tax credit that will make life more affordable for families with kids, instead of just another welfare check.

There are also important objectives for Florida that are top of mind. I think we will be able to achieve many of them through the appropriations process. Regardless, I will continue working to advance my state’s interests.

What do you see as the biggest issues in 2025 under a future Republican administration?

I think the biggest issue for any future administration will be convincing working people that their government cares about what they care about.

I’m not talking about 20-something Ivy League grads who work at consulting firms and volunteer for pro-Hamas protests on the weekends. I’m talking about everyday moms and dads who see a country in crisis and wonder why the politicians they elected aren’t doing anything about it.

I think what working people care about is simple: securing the border, stopping violent criminals, bringing good, high-paying jobs back, and restoring some sense of normalcy to our daily lives.

President Biden and even some Republicans think Wall Street is a proxy for the health of our country. It’s not unimportant, but it certainly doesn’t reflect what is happening at kitchen tables and in communities across the country.

What do you see as the most underrated issues under a future Republican Administration?

It’s crucial that we maintain and build upon our commitment to life. Some Republicans think our work is done because the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Others think pro-life policies are actually dead weight. I disagree on both counts.

If we believe unborn Americans are human beings, then cutting and running isn’t an option. But building a culture of life is about more than restricting abortion. It’s also about ensuring mothers in difficult circumstances have the resources they need to choose life and raise their babies in comfort and security.

Part of the problem Republicans have is that Democrats dominate the media narrative on abortion. We need to expose their stance, which is the real extreme one: to provide taxpayer-funded abortion for any reason, up until the moment of birth.

You’ve always been a forward-thinking leader on the economy. The GOP can’t just offer tax cuts, and some people say it’s now the party of the working class, and no longer the party of business. Do you agree, and if so, what are your thoughts on how this cashes out as policy?

I’ve been trying to make the GOP the party of the working class for years now. It’s not about being anti-business, like some Democrats are. It’s about being pro-America. Right now, there are a lot of incentives that put Wall Street at odds with our common good.

For instance, a lot of big companies are perfectly happy to boost stock prices through buybacks, instead of investing in American innovation, factories, and workers. Or they invest in China, which is our number one adversary. Don’t expect me to subsidize that behavior anymore.

It’s not all about sticks, though. I also want to reward patriotic companies. That’s what it’s all about in the end, because we’ll need a pro-America business community if we’re ever going to beat our competitors and give our citizens good-paying jobs.

On social issues, you’ve spoken a lot about “returning to normalcy”. What does that look like, in terms of policy? And in terms of legislation, since so much of the hottest issues today (trans, schools) are more determined at the state and local level than Federal?

It’s true that a lot of the hottest social issues are determined at the state and local levels. But you can bet that the left is trying to use the federal government to overrule lower-level obstacles to its agenda. A lot of what returning to normalcy looks like is preventing federal Democrats from overriding common-sense policies in the states.

Still, some things are entirely federal. The Defense Department is a good example. I’ve been exposing the woke craziness there, which ranges from drag queen events to critical race theory training to state-sponsored abortions, with a series of bills and reports. This is a national security issue, as our military retention, recruiting, and readiness have suffered since President Biden took office.

We managed to restrict the Pentagon’s DEI office last year. I hope we can get rid of it altogether. We also have to roll back regulatory changes and uncover all the funding Democrats send to these divisive groups. For that, we’ll need a Republican president.

What are your current thoughts on immigration? The consensus of the Party has evolved, and the Democrats have grown much more extreme on the issue. Comprehensive reform seems off the table forever, for good or ill. What are your current views, and what do you think can be accomplished in the future?

Immigration is not the same issue that it was when I entered the Senate in 2011. At that time, we had maybe 30,000 border encounters per month. Today, we have roughly 10,000 per day. We’re up by 1,000 percent. That isn’t immigration. That’s mass migration. And no country in the world can tolerate that.

It’s important to remember how we got here. President Biden ran a campaign on overturning President Trump’s immigration policies, and that is exactly what he did. He took 89 executive actions during his first year to unravel Trump-era policies, including ending Remain in Mexico, stopping deportations, and blocking border wall construction.

There are real problems with our legal immigration system. It’s outdated and doesn’t prioritize America’s needs. President Trump tried to make some changes, but Democrats said no. Now, all those issues are off the table until we get the border under control. Unfortunately, President Biden seems unwilling to change his policies, because it would mean admitting that President Trump was right.

In the end, securing the border is the executive’s responsibility. We can pass laws, but they have to enforce them. Right now, they’re not enforcing existing laws meant to protect Americans. The law says illegal immigrants are to be detained through removal. Instead, we’re releasing them, and drugs, into the country en masse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *