Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) aggressively countered Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) 11-point plan Tuesday as Democrats continue to hammer the party for its tax proposal.
“Senator Scott is behind me, and he can address the issue of his particular measure,” McConnell began.
The comment prompted scattered giggles, as Scott had just seconds before left the conference early, escorted by an aide. The timing may have been incidental; Scott started walking away just before McConnell was asked about his plan, and spoke from the Senate floor shortly after on Ukraine.
His office directed TPM to a tweet from Communications Director McKinley Lewis.
“Sen. Rick Scott had to get to the floor for a UC on Russian sanctions,” he wrote.
While in the chamber, Scott missed some biting criticism from McConnell.
“If we are 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. “And let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda: We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half of the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), also a member of leadership, was milder in his rebuke after the press conference, though seemed to take a shot at Scott’s known ambitions for higher office.
“I think Republican senators would hope that Rick Scott would stay focused right now on the job of being the chairman of the Senate election committee,” he told reporters.
Scott is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), in charge of getting Republican senators elected and reelected. His plan includes plentiful culture war red meat, but has drawn the most Democratic fire over its tax provisions.
“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” the plan reads. “Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”
“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,” countered the NRSC’s Democratic counterpart. The DSCC launched an immediate ad campaign centered on the talking point.
The plan also calls for all federal legislation to sunset in five years, which would continually threaten programs like Social Security and Medicare with potential extinction.
“If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,” the plan reads.
The plan is also heavy on mentions of Scott himself and light on references to senators actually up for reelection in 2022.