Marco Rubio lays out his economic vision

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks in Washington on June 13. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
File: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday announced a multi-part plan to stimulate the economy that included expanding private sector access to the government-controlled wireless spectrum, new legislation to limit regulation of the Internet and another to encourage cooperation in cutting edge research between government agencies and the private sector.

During an hour-long talk at the Washington headquarters of Google Inc.,  Rubio also called for tracking the economic cost of government regulations, repealing a ban on crude oil exports and easing government restrictions on energy pipelines.

The free-market proposals drew applause from conservatives gathered at the event, hosted by Google and the Jack Kemp Foundation. The 42-year-old Rubio is mentioned frequently as  a possible 2016 presidential candidate. But the Florida senator has lost favor with conservatives in part because of his efforts last year to pass immigration reform legislation, which conservatives complained would lead to amnesty for those in the country illegally.

Rubio came in a distant seventh in a straw poll of presidential hopefuls conducted at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

Rubio did not address immigration in his formal remarks at Google, instead stressing the need to invigorate the economy and streamline the regulatory process.

“A growing number of people are losing confidence in the American dream,” he declared as he began a lengthy speech that recalled being raised by Cuban immigrant parents and laid out his response to the current era of “anemic economic growth." Rubio’s solution:  Harness the power of the private sector and limit government regulation.

All told, Rubio mentioned about a dozen different proposals, including putting strict caps on the amount of regulatory costs that individual government agencies could impose in the future.

He took a moment at the Google event, crowded with network camera crews,  to criticize President Vladimir Putin for Russia's intervention in Crimea. He said the U.S. should make clear that “we are on the side of freedom” and “that there will be consequences for those who invade other countries.”

The consequences need not be military, he said, suggesting at one point that Russia no longer be included in an upcoming meeting of the G-8 countries.

Tom Hamburger covers the intersection of money and politics for The Washington Post.
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