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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., publicly rebuked a proposed policy agenda from fellow Republican Sen. Rick Scott, from Florida, in a move many in the media are billing as a “civil war” within the party.
Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has formulated an 11 point plan on how the GOP should govern once in the majority. In a video selling his proposal, Scott said: “We’ve put together a plan to rescue America after Republicans win this year. Official Washington won’t like this plan but you will.” On the latter point, Scott was spot on.
Two specific points in Scott’s plan are drawing opposition. The first point states, “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.” The second reads, “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.”
On Tuesday, at a press conference ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address, a reporter asked McConnell about Scott’s plan. The Florida senator was on hand and had just spoken to reporters, but as McConnell stepped to the microphone Scott was seen walking away with an aide — the minority leader noted that Scott was standing behind him and could answer for himself on his plan, unaware that the senator had left.
“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 said, leaving no doubt as to who was in charge.
Intent on focusing on “inflation, energy, defense, the border and crime,” McConnell was quick to say that he would not push any plan that would raise taxes on lower-income Americans.
“Let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda,” he added. “We would not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of a Republican Senate majority agenda.”
When asked about Sen. Rick Scott’s agenda, @LeaderMcConnell: “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 within five years. That will not be part of the Republican Senate Majority Agenda.” pic.twitter.com/XN7q9Kc6b4
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 1, 2022
According to reports, McConnell expressed concerns to Scott that his plan would be used as a campaign point by Democrats and could play havoc in the midterm election where the GOP has a real opportunity to take control of both chambers of Congress. The Republican leader wants the November election to be a referendum on the failings of President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.
McConnell’s lieutenants were quick to rally to his side.
“I think Republican senators hope that Rick Scott would stay focused right now on the job of being the chairman of the Senate election committee,” said retiring Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, according to NBC News. “I’m not for increasing anybody’s income tax, whether they pay zero or they pay a lot.”
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., who is up for re-election in November, suggested that no Republican would be running on Scott’s proposal.
“Every senator who’s running for re-election this year is going to have their own agenda and decide what it is they want to make their campaigns about,” Thune said. “I don’t know of any that would include that.”
Scott was asked last week if former President Donald Trump encouraged him to challenge McConnell for leadership and he replied, “I’m not going to talk about individual conversations I have with people,” before adding, “I’m not planning on running against Leader McConnell.”
Rick Scott on McConnell—>
Asked about whether he’d challenge McConnell for Majority Ldr & if Trump urged him to, NRSC chair & FL’s Sen. Rick Scott:
“I’m not going to talk about individual conversations I have with people…I’m not planning on running against Leader McConnell.” pic.twitter.com/fzg0pqDmDB
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) February 26, 2022
The media pounced on the opportunity to bill the policy dispute as an “intra-leadership feud,” as seen here:
The McConnell-Rick Scott episode is about as bad as i’ve seen an intra-leadership feud in a while. Worse than Boehner/Cantor, which was mostly behind the scenes. Even when Rs disagreed with Paul Ryan’s plans they did it more gently than McConnell did. Oof.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 1, 2022
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