Reid: Rubio should be sued over missed votes
© Greg Nash/The Hill

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Harry Reid calls for end to all caucuses Reid pushes back on Sanders suggestion that a Democrat with plurality of delegates should be the nominee MORE (D-Nev.) fired off his latest rhetorical punch at Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MacGregor confirmed as Interior deputy chief GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman MORE Tuesday, saying the Florida Republican should be forced to pay back his government salary. 

"I feel that Marco Rubio should be sued to pay back all the money that the federal government paid him," Reid told reporters. "He was never here, and the state of Florida was missing a senator during that time."

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Asked how he felt about Rubio's decision to run for reelection, Reid said, "On the day he announces he's running for the Senate he misses a very important Foreign Relations meeting. ... He owes the people, the state of Florida, some time." 

A Rubio spokesperson hit back at Reid, saying "no one in Florida cares about Harry Reid's ramblings." 

"We don't recall him making this argument about Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocrats duke it out in most negative debate so far Biden, Sanders battle over Cuba, Obama Biden attacks Sanders at debate over Obama primary MORE when he missed 64 percent of votes while running for president in 2008, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 The Hill's Campaign Report: High stakes at last Democratic debate before Super Tuesday MORE who missed 68 percent in 2008, or Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE who until last week hadn't voted since January," the spokesperson added. 

 

A reporter shouted a question to Reid on Tuesday about Sanders’s attendance, but the Nevada Democrat had already walked away from the microphones. 

His comments come after Rubio reversed his decision not to run for reelection last week and announced that he would run in November instead of retiring at the end of the year. 

Reid has repeatedly used the Senate floor and his weekly press conferences to lash out at Rubio, who missed more votes than any other senator last year as he ran an ultimately failed presidential bid. 

The outgoing Senate Democratic leader repeatedly said last year that the Florida Republican should resign, saying he "started denigrating the Senate."

Rubio has defended his voting record while campaigning for president, noting that he returned to Washington for important votes or when his absence could change the outcome of the vote. 

"[A] large number of the votes that are now taken in Congress in Washington, D.C., are precooked," he said in an interview with Fox Business's "Cavuto Coast to Coast" earlier this year. "The votes are already counted. Oftentimes the votes are just for show in order to make a statement." 

Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats in November, including a handful in states previously carried by President Obama. GOP senators, who pressured Rubio to reconsider his decision to retire, quickly praised his move to run for reelection, arguing it will help keep the seat in Republican hands.

Updated 8:43 p.m.