GOP’s Rubio tells Obama to end obsession with taxes, while tea partier Paul attacks spending

Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday said President Obama’s “obsession with raising taxes” and excessive spending is strangling the economy, and called for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution while delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union.

Moments after Mr. Obama’s nationally televised defense of his vision of a broader federal government, Mr. Rubio took to the airwaves to tell listeners — in English and then Spanish — that the president’s fiscal approach is hurting the middle-class families living in the working-class Florida neighborhood he calls home.

“It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs. And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security,” Mr. Rubio said.
“So, Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.”

Sen. Rand Paul weighed in minutes later on behalf of the Tea Party Express, blaming both parties for the nation’s fiscal woes, and saying that Congress must accept cuts to defense and domestic programs — including the impending $85 billion “sequester” — if it is serious about getting the nation’s fiscal house in order.

“Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses,” Mr. Paul said. “It is time for a new bipartisan consensus. It is time Democrats admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred. And it is time Republicans realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud.”

Together, the two responses highlighted the lack of a single-party representative and underscored the continuing tension within the Republican Party, with tea party insurgents often unsatisfied with the direction charted by the GOP leaders.

The fissures have been on display on Capitol Hill, where House Speaker John A. Boehner stripped a few conservatives from powerful House committee assignments late last year.

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