Rubio threatens to delay spending bill, but leadership says it's too late

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioFlorida: 'High likelihood' of first Zika transmission in the US Overnight Healthcare: Rubio presses Obama to spend Zika money | FDA moves ahead with trans fat ban The Trail 2016: Her big night MORE (R-Fla.) on Thursday said he plans to try to delay the passage of a $1.8 trillion government spending package that he argues is too lax on foreign worker visas.

But any efforts to slow down the bill would not be possible at this point under Senate rules, leadership aides said shortly after the remarks.

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“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,” Rubio, who is running for president, said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.

“We should use every procedural aspect that we have to slow it down and perhaps force some changes on these things we've been discussing,” he added.

Rubio’s interview, however, aired minutes after Senate leaders announced they had reached a deal to hold votes on the bill Friday before leaving town for a two-week Christmas recess.

The House will take up the massive budget bill in the morning after passing the first part of that deal — a separate package of tax breaks — on Thursday. 

Congress has until Tuesday to pass a government spending bill or risk a government shutdown.

When asked how he would delay the bill, Rubio said only that he hoped to “add some days” to the process. He did not say he would filibuster the package.

“That process of slowing it down allows more Americans to wake up to the reality of what's in the bill and perhaps, as a result, demand that their elected representatives make those changes,” he said.