Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R) has directly taken the brunt of the Republican establishment asserting its will on the status quo, but that hasn’t stopped his pushback against the RINOs whom he blasted for “caving” as the debt limit looms.
Leading up to the 2022 midterm election, Scott had positioned himself to lead the GOP conference by setting definitive objectives with his controversial 12-point plan. Seeking to do more than merely be the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Scott was nominated for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) position by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in a vote he lost 37-10.
Last week, McConnell retaliated against their stepping out of line by seeing them both ousted from the Senate Commerce Committee.
Speaking from his office in the Capitol with The Hill following the divisive move, Scott held his ground while voicing his concerns over potential outcomes in negotiating a response to reaching the debt limit.
“You saw [in 2021] he came out and said in July that we would not participate in raising the debt ceiling and then … he organized 11 people to say we’ll allow the Democrats to do it on our own. We didn’t follow conference rules. I’m tired of caving,” the Florida lawmaker stated.
“I’m not going to back down,” he went on.
Previously, Scott had endeavored for a reasoned approach to raising the debt limit when in April 2021 he proposed a conference rule that “any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by cuts in federal spending of an equal or greater amount as the debt ceiling increase or meaningful structural reform.”
“I took an amendment vote [in] April to the conference, we adopted it, and then … the leader caved,” the senator slammed.
As it happened, in the fall of 2021, McConnell had worked out a deal with his Democratic counterpart Sen. Charles Schumer (NY) for an exception to allow the debt-limit bill to pass without the 60-vote threshold that would permit a filibuster, ignoring the fact that 10 Republicans needed to side with Democrats anyway to authorize the procedural change.
Scott has not attempted to argue that there is no justification for raising the debt ceiling. Rather he has continued his push for a reasoned approach, noting on CNN that “either we’ve gotta reduce our cost…grow our revenues responsibly — not raising taxes — or what we’ve gotta do, is we gotta have some sort of structure reform so we know we’ll get there down the road.”
The status quo won't work.
Getting our fiscal house in order starts with structural change in Washington 👇 pic.twitter.com/UkO1VPXp9l
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 5, 2023
On the other hand, McConnell had bucked responsibility to the House last week, suggesting that the Senate wasn’t of consequence on this matter at the moment as the lower chamber led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was at the forefront of resolving the matter with President Joe Biden.
“We’re all behind Kevin and wishing him well in the negotiation,” the Kentucky lawmaker told the press, dismissing the fact raised by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that “Eventually Schumer’s going to bring up a bill to increase the debt ceiling, a clean debt-ceiling increase, and we’re going to have to vote on it.”
“I’m hoping that our folks will start thinking about how to deal with what I think is the most likely scenario which is the House can’t get there with the president. I’m not going to vote for a clean debt-ceiling increase,” Graham went on. “I want Mitch to know that. I want Schumer to know that. I think it would be impossible to get 60 [Senate] votes for a clean debt-ceiling increase.”
The same could have been said prior to June 2022 regarding gun control, yet sure enough, 14 Republican Senators had shown their support to cross the 60-vote threshold on the Bipartisan Safe Communities Act that allowed for taxpayer funding of red flag laws, including both McConnell and Graham.
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