Republican presidential candidate Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFlorida Republicans close ranks with Trump after Capitol siege Confirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE is defending his decision to skip a major vote on the government-spending bill that passed Congress on Friday.

The Florida senator said he opposed the legislation, but due to Senate rules that required the bill to reach 60 votes, an absent vote was as effective as a vote against.

“In essence, not voting for it is a vote against it, although my position in it is clear, because they needed my vote to get it passed to get to 60 votes because of the Senate rules,” Rubio said in an interview with CBS News on Friday.


Critics allege Rubio has missed an inordinate number of votes while on the campaign trail, but the Florida lawmaker said he is running for president to make votes in Congress count again.

“I want the work in Washington to be productive on behalf of the American people,” he said. “That will require me to be away for some time while I’m campaigning, but I intend to win this race so these votes will matter again.”

Rubio also took a swipe at political rivals who called for him to give up his Senate seat because of the missed votes.

He said fellow GOP primary candidate Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Legislatures boost security after insurrection, FBI warnings Former Missouri senator says backing Hawley was 'worst mistake of my life' MORE (R-Ky.) “likes politics so much, he’s running for two offices at the same time.” The Kentucky Republican Party is allowing Paul to run for president while he also runs for reelection to the Senate.

“I mean he wants to be a senator and president,” Rubio added. 

Paul previously said that Rubio "ought to resign or quit accepting his pay" if he missed the omnibus vote.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNewly released video from inside Capitol siege shows rioters confronting police, rifling through Senate desks Can we protect our country — from our rulers, and ourselves? Democratic super PAC targets Hawley, Cruz in new ad blitz MORE (R-Texas), who has also been critical of Rubio’s voting record, gave the same defense as Rubio when he missed the vote to confirm Attorney General Loretta Lynch earlier this year, claiming “absence is the equivalent of a no.

Rubio defenders say his vote attendance is in line with other senators who have run for higher office.