November 15th, 2010
11:20 AM ET
11 years ago

Rubio, Nelson already clash over earmarks

(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

Filed under: Ben Nelson • Marco Rubio
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. stufit

    My money would be on Rubio. He could be our next president, and he already has more experience at level than that incompetent, corrupt union tool the SEIU stole the 2008 election for.

    November 15, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Enough of the finger pointing, Rubio. The campaign is over now. Nelson will do what Nelson will do and the voters will react accordingly. Let's see your job growth plans, Rubio. Starting with are you for or against job outsourcing?

    November 15, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. Kenneth Close

    Ops: I am elected so much for America it is all about my people: So what if the navy doesn't want a carrier in Florida!

    November 15, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Bill

    Senator Nelson, you can't spend what you don't have... simple .....

    November 15, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Bob in Florida

    Rubio may be learning that rhetoric does not go very far, in the reality of Governing.

    November 15, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Whatever

    If votes to raise the debt threshold... he will then vote for bills that have earmarks!!!! Raising the threshold allows for more spending! WATCH THEM CLOSELY!!!!!!!

    November 15, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Bill from GA

    The idea of bringing a nuclear aircraft carrier to Mayport using Federal money is just the problem. Why should taxpayers in Nebraska pay to boost tourism in Florida? Many Federal programs, aside from earmarks, should be local. Massachusetts has high taxes; they have good education. Georgia has low state taxes and bad education. Should Massachusetts pay for our irresponsible ways? (We do have good fishing. Thanks, Sonny!!)

    November 15, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Proud member of "Gobal Zero"

    As a Florida Resident....I will be moving my family at the end of the school year. Rubio is a crook and a liar. He wants to raise the deficit by extending all the Bush Tax cuts. The man can not do math. People down here are stuck with this idiot for 6 years. I am outta here!!!

    November 15, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Pretzel Logic

    Think the over/under on Rubio backtracking on earmarks is about 8 weeks.

    November 15, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Manuel from FL

    So basically I voted for a guy who doesn't want to stick up for us? Ugh

    November 15, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Bob

    @Bill from GA "Should Massachusetts pay for our irresponsible ways?" Massachusetts already does. GA gets about $1.50 for every dollar it sends to DC. Alabama gets $1.65 for every dollar it sends. CA sends a buck and gets back $.79. Similar rate for MA. NJ, PA, CA, MA, NY, all send way more than they get back, to pay the way for GA, MI, LA, AL, AK, WY, NE, and other states that criticize states like CA for their budget deficits. Stop federal welfare now!!!

    November 15, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. AZ DEM

    Rubio will definitely be a player in the 2012 election. I actually may not be surprised to see him on the VP level of the ticket..he'll give Obama a tough fight in the state and it is feasible that they may even win the state just with him on the ticket...however 2012 is so far away that he could very easily be in obscurity so only time will tell....earmarks DO need to stop as much as they can do good for a state they are bad for the deficit so there really should be no debate about it ESPECIALLY from "fiscal conservatives" in the GOP (rolls eyes)

    November 15, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Ben in Texas

    Earmarks, as galling as they are, are nothing to the deficit in comparison to the mini-Bush tax giveaway to the rich. The only realistic way to get us back to a balanced budget will include canning the socialism for the rich known as the Bush tax cuts. Rich people are a huge burden on society, and we can't afford to pay for them any more.

    November 15, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    "As a Florida Resident....I will be moving my family at the end of the school year."

    Wow... just wow. The election of Marco Rubio as US Senator will have miniscule, if any, effect on education in FL. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Public education in this country are primarily the local jurisdiction's responsibility, secondary the State's, and tertiary, but extremely limited, the feds. You're running away for completely the wrong reason.

    November 15, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Jasper

    This is all talk. Most conservatives states are getting more than what they send to D.C. . Let them return those money and we have a debate. Before that happens ... it is all hypocrisy.

    November 15, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |