On Rubio, key lime pie, and debt ceiling quarrels

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Who remembers the Key Lime v. Pecan pie wars of 2006? Marco Rubio, then Speaker-Designate of the Florida House, voted to endorse the key lime as Florida’s state pie. Arguably, it was a tasty fluff issue for the legislature to debate.

But that’s not what Rubio was talking about Wednesday on Capitol Hill when attempting to debate the issue of raising the debt ceiling (again), when he was scolded by Sen. John McCain who jabbed that Rubio’s concern was out of place, holding hostage Senate business, and disrespectful to Americans who “deserve a budget.”

Rubio countered that  bringing the issue to the floor is “not a trivial matter. It’s not like I’m arguing that key lime pie be made the official pie of the United States.”

This is the closest the Senate has come to passing a budget in years and it differs greatly from the House-version, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan.  The chambers must go to conference to bridge gaps between the different plans.  To appoint conferees to the budget, Senate leaders must get unanimous consent.  Rubio is among a short list of Senate republicans who object to these requests, insisting that assurance must first be given that the debt ceiling will not be raised in the process.

To McCain, it is not “the regular order to demand certain conditions on the conferees” and chided Rubio for not trusting the process or House Republicans, on their end.

To Rubio, and colleagues such as Sen. Ted Cruz, that so-called “regular order” has resulted only in the accumulation of mindboggling debt.

“The regular order of Washington has given us a $17 trillion debt,” Rubio jabbed back. “I don’t think you can run up a $17 trillion debt without some bipartisan cooperation.”

Sounds like a serving of sweet, humble pie.