Rubio: 'Senate Needs to Fulfill Its Role As A Check and Balance on the President'

Susan Jones | June 27, 2016 | 5:48am EDT
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Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks to media outside his office on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. The former Republican presidential candidate announced he will run for re-election to the Senate from Florida, reversing his retirement plans under pressure from GOP leaders determined to hang onto his seat and Senate control. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

( - Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says he has decided to run for re-election after all, to work on "a lot of things I think are important."

"The first, of course, is I think the Senate needs to fulfill its role as a check and balance on the president, no matter who it is, and that means a president of our own party. And if we agree on something, we need to work together with that president. And if we disagree on it, we need to be willing to stand up to the presidency, even if they're of your own party," Rubio told CBS's "Face the Nation."

Rubio also talked about the importance of America fully benefiting from the transition to a "new economy."

"We can't stop the pace of progress. We either benefit from it, or we're left behind by it. But we recognize people are being hurt by it."

Rubio said the "new economy" is creating "a lot of new jobs," but the people being hired for those new jobs "are not the same people that are losing jobs under the old economy."

Rubio said the job dislocation is creating "an incredible amount of strain and friction all over the world," and he said it partly explains the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union:

"And so there's a sense in many countries around the world that this is because we're too engaged with this global economy, we're too engaged with world. I think you see it manifested here in America. I think you saw it in that vote there. I think there's other places where you may see that pop up as well."

Rubio noted that one of the "fundamental arguments" his former Republican ival Donald Trump has made "is that the U.S. needs to isolate itself a little bit more from some of the other things that are going on around the world and focus on America first. And there are some elements of truth to that argument, but ultimately, again not entirely, because, given the dynamics that we now live in today, we cannot isolate ourselves from global events. We are the United States of America.

"We're not a small, irrelevant country. We are directly and immediately impacted by global events, whether we want to be or not, whether they're national security ones or economic ones. We're 5 percent of the world's population. If all we do is sell things to each other, there's only so much growth we can create. We need to be able to engage with economies all over the world."

Rubio said he understands why people who work in manufacturing are upset about their jobs going to other countries:

"I think it challenges policy-makers to figure out how it is we can embrace a new economy we cannot avoid. The future cannot be stopped. It's going to happen. Whether we like it or not, automation's going to happen. The nature of the economy is going to continue to change. You couldn't stop the Industrial Revolution. You're not going to be able to stop the 21st century economy.

"But we have to figure out how to benefit from it not, just be hurt by it."

Dickerson also asked Rubio to weigh in on the very different immigration policies of Donald Trump, who has called for the deportation of all 11 million illegal aliens, and Hillary Clinton, who is calling for comprehensive immigration reform that would set out a process for many of the 11 million to remain in the United States.

"Which [plan] is the better starting point to get to what you want?" Dickerson asked Rubio.

"Neither," Rubio replied. "Neither will happen. In that sense, Donald is not going -- he's already kind of even backtracked from that a little bit and said that there's flexibility here about how this is dealt with.

"People do need to be deported," Rubio said. He mentioned criminals, national security threats, and "people that haven't been here very long."

"There has to be a cutoff point," Rubio added. "Can't just be anyone who comes and gets to stay. So, I don't think that's what's going to happen, no matter what he (Trump) says on the campaign (trail).  And on the other side, she's (Hillary Clinton) wasting -- first of all, I would ask her, why didn't the Democrats do that eight years ago when they controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency?

"Instead, they focused on Obamacare. Second, the votes aren't there. There's less votes today for comprehensive reform than there was two years ago, four years ago."

Host John Dickerson reminded Rubio that when he announced he was dropping out of the Senate race to run for president, Rubio described the Senate as a place where things go to die: "You were pretty tough on the Senate," Dickerson commentd.

"And I continue to be," Rubio said.

"Why would you go back?" Dickerson asked, noting that the Senate has a 17 percent approval rating.

"Well, that's a good question," Rubio said.

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