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Rubio talks spending, debt ceiling

From NBC's Michelle Perry
Appearing on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) said he will not support the short-term spending deal when it reaches the Senate.

"I understand people worked really hard on it. I understand the tough position that many in leadership are in. But I want to see this issue dealt with, with a seriousness and the intensity that it deserves. This is a major issue -- perhaps as an important issue as anything that policymakers have had to tackle in this country in the last 25 or 30 years, and I don't sense urgency around it."

The freshman senator was critical of the process on Capitol Hill, "I get up here and I realize there's not a real seriousness about dealing with this issue. So I'm not going to come up here and start participating in what I think are not serious efforts towards solving this."

Of the current debate on the 2012 budget and debt ceiling, Rubio said he doesn't see a "serious effort" coming from Treasury Secretary Geithner and the Obama White House. "If we come back in a few weeks and all we do is raise the debt limit without any plan to get a hold of this problem, we're risking a catastrophe. I agree, I don't like this politics by brinksmanship. Let's start working on it now, stop giving campaign speeches, and give real solutions to the problem."

When asked if he would oppose any efforts to add social issues on to the debt ceiling, as was seen with abortion and Planned Parenthood in the short-term spending deal, Rubio told Mitchell, "I want the debt issue to be dealt with in its totality as a debt issue. That's what I hope we'll do."

Rubio, extremely popular with the Tea Party and a rising star in his party is seen by some as a top GOP vice presidential candidate in 2012. But the senator says his job is big enough, "I suppose I should be flattered by those statements they've made, but the reality is I'm focused on this job."