Out on the stump, this presidential candidate often talks about the need for a fully-funded military. But when the Senate got together to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Marco Rubio was nowhere to be found.
Instead, the GOP hopeful was in the air, on a flight headed from LaGuardia Airport to Manchester, N.H., for a two-day campaign swing through the state. Rubio had just wrapped up another event in New York that morning.
Rubio has missed 29% of Senate votes over the last year. Both the media and some of Rubio’s rivals have attacked him for it.
“He has the worst voting record in the Senate,” said Donald Trump in Franklin, Tenn., over the weekend. “Other senators are doing fine.”
Jeb Bush has avoided calling Rubio out by name, but today in Iowa told a crowd, "[Congressmen and women] should vote. When there is a reauthorization of the defense bill, when we’re gutting the military they should be there voting for this."
"Marco Solidifies His Nickname: 'No-Show Rubio,'" American Bridge PAC said in a note to Democratic supporters on Tuesday.
“We continue to be engaged in constituent service and on the important issues in Washington, and we’ve cancelled events in the past in order to be there when we can be a decisive voice,” Rubio told reporters on Wednesday in New Hampshire.
The National Defense Authorization Act passed 73 to 26. Still, Rubio was the only senator to miss the vote on Tuesday.
Each of the five senators running for president have missed Congressional votes (Lindsey Graham has missed the most).
Rubio and fellow freshman Senator Ted Cruz, however, have missed more votes over their entire Senate careers than the rest of the 2016 pack; they’re both in the 11% range of lifetime missed votes, compared to a median of 1.6% missed among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.
"When I miss a vote, it's not because I'm out playing golf,” Rubio has said. ”We're out campaigning for the future of America, where I believe I can make more of a difference as president than I could as a Senator."
Tuesday's defense spending bill includes funding for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, so Rubio's decision to miss the vote could wind up hurting his chances with the very people he's trying to win over this week in New Hampshire.
“These votes that are happening in the Senate aren’t going to make a difference unless we have a new president,” Rubio said.