Marco Rubio is in a good place right now, even though our country is still in the midst of a crisis we haven’t suffered in over 100 years. With our economy shattered by the coronavirus pandemic, the 48 year old senior GOP senator from south Florida has stepped up to the plate for his constituents. As chairman of the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Rubio battled to create the Paycheck Protection Program which was included in the government’s $2 trillion rescue package. In the first round of funding, Rubio managed to grab $349 billion so small business owners could receive forgivable loans in order to stay afloat and provide security for their employees. But that money dried up in less than two weeks because the big sharks circled the waters, claiming money that was never intended for them.
Congress has now passed legislation that will earmark another $310 billion for PPP purposes, and Rubio says the loan program will resume immediately. In addition, the Cuban-American lawmaker is fighting to have loan applications approved for large corporations like the Los Angeles Lakers and Ruth Chris Steakhouse void to increase the pot. Miami is home to an incredible number of small businesses, most owned by Latinos in the service industry, and they are all hurting.
“I think part of our recovery needs to be not simply how we get back to (like before), but what our economy should look like (moving forward) in the 21st century,” reasons Rubio.
Marco Rubio is an attorney and a smart cookie. Despite his failures in the 2016 presidential campaign, an ordeal that caused him to second guess his political career, he has grown wiser and understands that he can make a difference. A devout Catholic and family man, he has recognized his role as a leader in the Hispanic community, but also to carry the torch for America’s working middle class. Not only that, but Rubio is an expert on international affairs in our hemisphere, and deeply feels the pain of the Venezuelan people under the iron fist of dictator Nicolas Maduro. Some 14 months ago, the senator flew to Colombia to meet with president Ivan Duque Marquez to help deliver humanitarian aid across a key bridge into Venezuela. Rubio has been a frequent visitor to the region, laying the groundwork for a summit there that included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Last August, special envoy Elliott Abrams offered amnesty for Maduro in exchange for leaving power, but the former aid to the late Hugo Chavez refused. Now only last month, the State Department of Justice has indicted Maduro on narco-terrorism charges, offering $15 million for his arrest. Shipping lanes for cocaine distribution to the United States created by Colombian rebels (loyal to Cuba) have been a benefit to Maduro’s shrinking cash flow, and Rubio continues to work as a go-between and advisor to solve these regional problems.
Even though an election showdown between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will certainly dominate the news in the coming months, Marco Rubio has maintained a high profile and is receiving positive media coverage. Both Trump and Biden are in their mid to late 70’s, and plenty of fresh faces will emerge in 2024. Hispanics will have choices, with Rubio likely to be at the forefront.
“The PPP is the one big bipartisan program that was included in the last round of stimulus,” notes Alex Conant, a partner at Firehouse Strategies. “It happened because of Rubio’s leadership.”