Rubio: 'Greatest Contributor to Economic...Underperformance is Breakdown of Families'

By Penny Starr | June 20, 2014 | 8:00 AM EDT

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) spoke at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Conference on June 19, 2014 in Washington, D.C. ( Starr)

( – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says the "breakdown of families" is responsible for economic and educational inequality in this country.

“Those values were taught to you and they were reinforced,” Rubio said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in Washington, D.C. “They were taught to you in strong homes and they were reinforced by churches and synagogues, and the community around you, and by your family as well.

“And it is eroding all around us,” Rubio said. “The single greatest contributor to economic and educational under performance in America today is the breakdown of families. The single greatest contributor to poverty in America today is the breakdown of families,” Rubio said.

Rubio said he was not disparaging people who grow up in “challenging circumstances." And he did not rule out the role of government.

“There are some things government can do,” Rubio said. “For example, we have to empower parents."

He used school vouchers as an example:

“It is unfair, it is immoral, it is un-American that in this country poor people are the only ones who cannot chose where their children go to school,” Rubio said. “Every parent deserves the right to send their child to a school of their choice; not the school board’s choice and certainly not Washington’s choice.”

Rubio was one of a number of lawmakers who spoke on the opening day of the three-day conference. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also spoke, as did Ambassador John Bolton and former Congressman Allen West (R-Fla).

Other speakers scheduled for the conference include Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Republican N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Herman Cain.