(CNN) – In his first appearance on Capitol Hill as the Senator-elect from Florida, Republican Marco Rubio struck a markedly different tone on earmarks than that of his soon-to-be Florida Senate colleague, Bill Nelson.
Rubio, who like many Republicans campaigned hard on cutting government spending, told reporters at a joint press conference with Nelson Monday that he will vote in favor of a Senate GOP ban on the practice that often delivers millions of federal dollars to political pet projects and causes back home. The comments came after Rubio and Nelson met privately.
"I want Florida to be fairly represented in this process, [but] on the other hand I think this country owes … thirteen and half trillion dollars and growing and we have to deal with that very seriously," said Rubio. "If we can't deal with the issue of earmarks how are we going to deal with thirteen and half trillion dollars?"
But speaking moments earlier, Nelson took the opposite position, saying some earmarks were essential to the well-being of Floridians.
"For example, I gave the example of bringing a nuclear aircraft carrier to Mayport. And the necessary earmarks that take place over five years," said Nelson. "Two years of which we've already been able to get well and it's well underway. It's a request by the Department of Defense. But if I didn't attend to that appropriation, the Virginia delegation was going to eliminate a carrier coming into Florida."
- CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report