Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTikTok's leader to meet with lawmakers next week GOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements Three dead, several injured in Pensacola naval station shooting MORE credited an unlikely lawmaker when discussing Veterans Affairs issues at Thursday night's GOP debate: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocratic strategist: 'Medicare for All' exposes generational gap within party Yang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Biden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee MORE

Rubio called for greater accountability of the VA and touted his work on a bill that grants the secretary of that department the authority to fire senior executives.
 
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"One of the things I'm proudest of is that in my time in the U.S. Senate working with Jeff Miller here from Florida in a bipartisan way, and I'll give him credit — Bernie Sanders was a part of this — we passed a VA accountability bill," Rubio said at CNN’s debate in Miami, just five days ahead of the state’s critical winner-take-all primary.
 
"Since we passed that law, no one's been fired for outreach, no one's been fired for calls going to the voicemail, no one's been disciplined, no one's been demoted," Rubio said.
 
"When I'm president of the United States, if you work at the VA and you are not doing a good job, you will be fired from your job at the VA," he added.

At Thursday's debate, Rubio veered away from personal attacks and focused on a more policy-driven conversation.

The Florida senator is pinning all of his hopes on his home state as he seeks to prove that he is a viable alternative to Trump. 

Rubio has insisted that he will not drop out prior to the March 15 contest but has acknowledged that he needs a victory in order to continue to the nomination.

If Rubio fails to win Florida, there will be heightened pressure for him to drop out.

Some recent polls show Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE leading by double digits, while others find a tighter race between the front-runner and Rubio.