It could be considered the first vote of the 2016 presidential primary, and Sen. Marco Rubio defied most of his party by voting against the “fiscal cliff” deal GOP leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joseph R. Biden struck.

Mr. Rubio was one of just eight senators to vote against the legislation, which cleared in an easy 89-8 vote just after 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

The Florida Republican is seen as a leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination in four years.

In a statement Tuesday morning, he praised Mr. McConnell for striking the deal, but said the agreement failed to get the job done.

“Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they’ll pay this new tax and, chances are, they’ll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make,” he said. “And to make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control.”

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