Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted elements of Sen. Rick Scott’s 11-point plan to “Rescue America,” leveling a blunt public rebuke, saying he doesn’t back it while castigating two points of the proposals.
Speaking with Capitol Hill reporters during the GOP Senate leadership weekly press conference, a reporter asked McConnell about Scott’s plan.
“Can I ask you about Senator Scott introducing an agenda that Democrats have seized on? It includes tax increases, and it’s been very controversial. I wonder what your thoughts on this are?” PunchBowl News reporter asked McConnell.
“Well, Senator Scott is behind me, and he can address the issue of his particular measure,” McConnell said, oblivious that Scott had just walked away from the presser and was heading towards the Senate chambers. “If we’re fortunate enough to have the majority next year, I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide in consultation with my members what to put on the floor.”
McConnell then publicly tore into points within Scott’s plan while making it clear that he plans to be the Senate Leader in charge come 2023.
“Let me tell you what will not be a part of our agenda: We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare after five years. That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda,” McConnell said.
“We will focus instead on what the American people are concerned about: inflation, energy, defense, the border, and crime,” he added.
Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC), released an 11-point plan last week dubbed an “11 Point Plan to Rescue America: What Americans Must Do to Save This Country,” a proposal jam-packed with a range of fiscally conservative policy and “America First” agenda. The Florida Senator, who released the blueprint under his personal capacity as Senator and not as chair of the NRSC, combines a litany of problems Americans are facing today while also including a proposal to name the border wall after former Republican President Donald Trump.
However, two contentious points within the plan have sparked heavy criticism from Democrats, the Biden Administration, and some from within his own colleagues since its release. One section of Scott’s 11-point plan calls for “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount.” The other point states that “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.”
Democrats and the Biden administration quickly blasted Scott’s proposal and have sought to pressure Republican candidates to take a position. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) launched a five-figure radio ads buy on that pins Scott’s plan as the whole Republican agenda as a whole. Some GOP members are now keeping their distance from the Scott plan.
“We’re making sure voters know the facts about Senate Republicans’ agenda: a tax hike on millions of seniors and over half of all Americans,” DSCC Communications Director David Bergstein said in a statement. “At every opportunity, Republicans are pushing the interests of the ultra-wealthy and big corporations that get rich by spiking costs – all while working families pay the price. In 2022, voters will hold every GOP Senate candidate accountable.”
McConnell has been adamant in his refusal to release a broader GOP agenda ahead of the 2022 midterms, reiterating to donors and colleagues that the party will reveal its policy platform after regaining control of Congress. The Senate minority leader had long held the view that putting out an agenda plan ahead of midterm elections is a big mistake, pointing to 2014 when he led Republicans to win back the Senate as his reference to why he won’t propose a platform.
Instead, McConnell has made clear, using his 2014 plans, that the party’s entire focus should be skewing Democrats for their perceived failures, reminding Republicans that they should run on focusing on how Democrats have unleashed “terrible” things along with what they have done to the country.
According to multiple people who spoke to Politico following the GOP Leadership private meeting held Monday, several members took turns taking shots at Scott over his decision to release his own agenda ahead of the midterms that have welcomed “unnecessary attacks” from Democrats. McConnell reportedly told the Florida senator his proposal would give Democrats ammunition for millions of dollars in attack ads.
Despite the rebuke, a newly released poll from Morning Consult/Politico poll revealed that many pieces of Scott’s 11-point plan are popular and strongly supported amongst voters.
Scott in his part is also not backing down, despite the rebukes from his own party and said he intends to continue bringing up his policy plan. The Florida Senator touted the plan during the CPAC conference last weekend held in Orlando.
“The Democrats’ assertion that I want to raise taxes on working Americans or retirees is simply a lie,” Scott said in a statement. “I do, however, want to have a conversation about able-bodied Americans who are living off of government programs instead of working, a reality caused by Democrat policies.”
“I agree with Senator McConnell that this election will primarily be about Joe Biden and the Democrats’ failures, but have been clear that I also believe Republicans should talk about a plan for turning this country around,” Scott added.