Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MORE missed Friday’s Senate vote approving a massive $1.8 trillion end-of-the-year spending bill and tax package — a day after he suggested that he could try to slow the legislation down. 

The Florida Republican, who is running for president, was the only 2016 contender to miss the vote, which is the Senate's final vote of the year.

Rubio defended his absence in an interview, telling CBS News that "in essence, not voting for it, is a vote against it."

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Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCongress can stop the war on science O'Rourke blogs from road trip: 'Have been stuck lately. In and out of a funk' Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall MORE (R-Texas), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Congress can stop the war on science Media fails spectacularly at smearing Rand Paul for surgery in Canada MORE (R-Ky.) and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersTexas man indicted over allegations he created fraudulent campaign PACs Overnight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour MORE (I-Vt.), three other presidential candidates, all voted against the legislation. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Overnight Defense: Four Americans killed in Syria suicide attack | State of the Union becomes latest shutdown flashpoint | Missile defense review on track for Thursday release White House condemns 'terror attack' that killed US troops in Syria MORE (R-S.C.), a fourth GOP presidential candidate from the Senate, backed the bill.

Cruz announced his opposition to the legislation on Thursday, describing his vote as a “hell no.”

“This is what's wrong with the Washington Cartel,” he told "The John Fredericks Show." “Republican leadership has proven to be the most Democratic leaders we have ever seen. ...[This] does not honor the promises we made to the men and women who elected us.” 

Rubio's missed vote comes after he suggested that he could use procedural tactics to try to slow down the legislation, which he said he opposed. 

“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,” Rubio told Fox News.

However, Democrats quickly pointed out that the time agreement on the votes clinched that the Florida Republican would miss his chance. 

Rubio's campaign has previously defended his voting record, saying that he will show up in the Senate when he believes his vote could be a deciding factor. The candidate doubled down on that argument on Friday.

"Look, I'm running for president. ...When there are important votes, especially those where I can be a decisive voice, I'm going to be there," Rubio said.

The Florida Republican has missed more than half of the Senate's votes since October. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to weigh in on Rubio's absence Friday, telling reporters he wouldn't comment on the presidential race. 

- This story was updated at 3:05 p.m.