Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he is tired of his party giving in to Democrat approaches to managing the debt ceiling, urging Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) not to strike a last-minute compromise agreement with President Joe Biden.
“[I am] tired of caving,” Scott told The Hill in an interview at his U.S. Capitol office. “I’m not going to back down,” he said.
His remarks came after McConnell removed him from the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology.
“We’re on the road to woke socialism, and Republicans are just a speed bump. We can’t keep doing the same old thing. It’s time for Republicans to be bold, speak the truth, and stop caving in,” Scott said in his campaign ad on Jan 31.
Senate Republicans re-elected McConnell as the leading Republican senator on Nov. 16, 2022, defeating Scott. The tally was 37-10.
Observers interpret McConnell’s decision to remove Scott from the Commerce Committee as a reaction to the November leadership election. Scott also rejected the $1.7 trillion end-of-year spending bill, as opposed to McConnell, who supported it.
In the fall of 2021, McConnell “caved” by agreeing with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Scott told The Hill, enabling debt-limit legislation to pass without a filibuster.
However, according to The Hill, McConnell said in 2021 that he made a deal with Schumer to let Democrats raise the debt ceiling with votes from their conference because he wanted them to take full responsibility for increasing borrowing authorization.
But from Scott’s view, he told The Hill, “I took an amendment vote [in] April to the conference, we adopted it and then … the leader caved.”
The Epoch Times has contacted McConnell for comment.
As previously reported by The Epoch Times, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and 23 other Republican senators, including Scott, sent a letter to President Biden on Jan. 27 expressing their opposition to raising the debt limit without spending cuts and structural reform to address the country’s $31 trillion debt.
“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 in spending, such as the Prevent Government Shutdown Act or the Full Faith and Credit Act,” the letter reads.
McConnell has also removed Lee from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology.
Scott and the GOP Senators who signed the letter want to show McConnell that they do not want him to negotiate any arrangement that would give Democrats the ability to approve a clean debt-limit increase.
“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 [their] own. We didn’t follow conference rules. I’m tired of caving,” Scott told The Hill.
McConnell, Senate GOP Whip John Thune (D-S.D.), and Sen. John Cornyn (D-Texas) did not sign the letter.
“I wouldn’t read too much into it. There are letters floating around in our conference all the time. Most of the time, I don’t sign them,” McConnell said.
House Negotiations are Key: McConnell
McConnell doubts any Senate debt-limit agreement will pass the House; thus, he leaves it to Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to find common ground to the spending legislation.
“We’re all behind Kevin and wishing him well in the negotiation,” McConnell told reporters last week.
Before McCarthy and Biden met on Feb. 1 to discuss the government’s spending, McConnell told the Senate floor that “[i]t is right, appropriate, and entirely normal that our need to raise the debt limit would be paired with negotiations regarding Democrats’ runaway printing and spending.”
“I trust Democrats will be consistent with their past positions, and the White House will waste no time beginning the customary bipartisan negotiations with the new Republican majority in the House,” he said.
“I thought it was a very good discussion,” McCarthy told reporters shortly after a one-hour conversation with Biden at the White House. “We walked out saying we will continue that discussion. And I think there is an opportunity to come to an agreement, and I think that’s the best thing,” he continued.
However, he declined to indicate which areas Republicans aim to cut spending in or when they would unveil their plan.
McCarthy said public negotiations with the president would be ineffective. He said Republicans will eliminate unnecessary spending, and not Medicare or Social Security.
President Biden will reveal his proposed budget on March 9.