Marco Rubio explains why he skipped vote, swipes at Rand Paul

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, on Friday defended his decision to skip a major vote in the Senate that afternoon to fund the government through September, and he took a swipe at a GOP rival who called on him to resign from Congress.

In an interview with CBS News' Face the Nation host John Dickerson, Rubio was asked to respond to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who told Politico Friday that Rubio should resign from the Senate after missing the critical vote.

"Look, I'm running for president," Rubio told Dickerson in Dubuque, Iowa ahead of his town hall. "We do our job everyday. Even before I got on the air with you today, we were going through some constituent service work where I'm personally intervening on behalf of people in our office. When there are important votes, especially those where I can be a decisive voice, I'm going to be there."

Rubio described the spending package as a "massive, grotesque piece of legislation" and explained he's focusing on the campaign trail in order to win election and prevent similar votes from happening again in Washington.

"That's why I'm out campaigning. I want these votes to start to matter again," he said.

Asked why he wouldn't make his point about the spending package by physically being on Capitol Hill, Rubio said his message was clear.

"In essence, not voting for it, is a vote against it," said Rubio, who then took a jab at Paul, who voted against the $1.1 trillion package, which also included a set of tax extenders.

"Here's the other point about Senator Paul, and I don't want to engage him too much because he's got his own style about him. He's the only person running who likes politics so much, he's running for two offices at the same time. I mean he wants to be a senator and president," Rubio said.

"I'm not running for reelection to the Senate, because I want to be president. I want to ensure that these votes being taken in the next Congress actually matter," he added.

Rubio's absence from the Senate on Friday was a bit surprising because he suggested on Fox News' "Happening Now" a day earlier that he could try and slow down the spending package and interfere with the process leading up to the final vote.

"We can most certainly slow this process down and force them to go back and make changes to it. There's no doubt that we can and we should and we will," he said.

After it was clear Rubio didn't participate in the vote, Paul called on Rubio to resign in an interview with Politico.

"It's a trillion dollars in spending and I think earlier this week he talked about having some activity and then wasn't here," Paul said. "So yeah I think it's important to show up to your job. I think that really he ought to resign or quit accepting his pay if he's not going to come to work."

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.