Rubio's push for higher defense spending falls short

Senators blocked an amendment Thursday that would have increased defense spending above congressionally mandated budget caps. 

Senators voted 32-68 on overriding a "point of order" placed on the amendment by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy Sanders doubles down on 'Medicare For All' defense: 'We have not changed one word' Sanders, Warren back major shift to fight drug overdoses MORE (I-Vt.). Sixty votes were need to overcome the procedural hurdle.
 
The amendment, offered by Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator says he suggested Greenland purchase to Trump, met with Danish ambassador It's time to empower military families with education freedom Cotton warns China: Crackdown on Hong Kong would be 'grave miscalculation' MORE (R-Ark.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (R-Fla.) divided Senate Republicans, including potential 2016 presidential candidates. Rubio and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? GOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (R-Texas), who launched his presidential bid earlier this week, supported the amendment, while Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (R-Ky.) voted against it. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
The amendment would have swapped out the fiscal 2016 defense budget numbers with projected numbers included in former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's fiscal 2012 defense budget. 
 
"This is a pretty simple amendment, it funds defense fully," Rubio said ahead of the vote. "It puts us at the Gates budget number ... that fully funds the needs of our military." 
 
Sanders slammed the Republicans' amendment, calling it "remarkable." 
 
"This is truly a remarkable amendment because it runs directly in opposition to what the Republicans have been talking about," Sanders said, referring to Republicans' pledge to balance the budget and shrink the deficit. "Enough is enough, if you want to go to war, start paying for it." 
 
The Pentagon's 2012 budget projected the department would need $661 billion in fiscal 2016, according to a summary of the budget released by the department.  
 
R epublicans on the Senate Budget Committee bolstered the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) by $38 billion last week. Rubio said Tuesday that while he respects the committee's work, he believes senators need to debate defense spending. 
 
"I respect the work they've done, and ultimately, that might be where we wind up," Rubio said from the Senate floor, but he added that senators need "a serious debate" on defense spending.