Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against a resolution authorizing a military strike in Syria, during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Rubio’s vote put him in the minority and on the side of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), an uncommon ally. But Rubio sought distance from Paul after the vote, saying that he opposed the measure because he is “unconvinced” that a military strike will work. Rubio: “Those who argue that what happens in Syria is none of our business are wrong. … [I]f we follow the advice of those who seek to disengage us from global issues, in the long run we will pay a terrible price.” (Palm Beach Post)
STILL FOCUSED ON OBAMACARE. Rubio sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday, calling on the department to cancel a planned $8.7 million ad buy promoting the Affordable Care Act. Rubio wrote: “Until critical questions can be answered regarding the availability and type of health insurance to be provided by ObamaCare, it is unconscionable to spend taxpayer dollars to promote and advertise ObamaCare plans that have yet to be finalized.” (Talking Points Memo)
NEW MESSAGE ON IMMIGRATION. Rubio is profiled in Sunday’s upcoming Parade magazine, in which he addresses his push for immigration reform. Rubio: “It’s one thing to consider immigration reform as a theoretical policy issue, and another to meet real people whose lives are impacted by it. As a senator, I interact with people who flat-out tell you, ‘Look, my kids were hungry. And I am going to do what it takes to feed them.’ You think, ‘If I had been in that position, would I have done something different?’” (release)
— Sarah Mimms
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The Senate on Sunday failed to reach agreement on a plan to fund the government through Feb. 8, postponing the vote until noon on Monday. "While lawmakers angled to score political points or shift blame, most agencies planned Monday to begin executing orderly shutdown procedures, per guidance from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney."
"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."
"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."