Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott has reimagined his Rescue America plan following weeks of criticism from President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
It won’t count as bipartisan cooperation – one succumbs or acquiesces to hectoring – but Scott has amended the portion of his plan, one that is not official Republican policy, that states that all federal programs should be “sunset” every five years.
The president can now rest easy, as Scott’s plan now specifies that Social Security, Medicare, and national defense will exist in perpetuity. Scott made that point empathically, one might argue in a manner that treated his trio of chief critics as imbeciles, with a single sentence.
“Note to President Biden, Sen. Schumer, and Sen. McConnell – As you know, this was never intended to apply to Social Security, Medicare, or the US Navy,” a note written in bold on the Rescue America website reads.
The spirit of Scott’s plan is that federal spending programs should be brought before Congress every five years for renewal, the thought being that this would prevent programs from existing decades after they outlive their purpose.
Centrist critics have argued this would create a legislative logjam and also allow both parties to routinely hold necessary programs hostage on a yearly basis.
But the plan also proved a point upon which Biden, in particular, could fixate as he has attempted to brand all Republicans as anti-elderly.
During the State of the Union address, and most public addresses since, Biden suggested conservatives meant harm to America’s oldest citizens and were bent on defunding Social Security and Medicare.
Somehow, this bald scare tactic, one that netted Biden boos from Republicans and a loud rebuke from Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) during the State of the Union, has gained some steam. At the very least, the claim has lingered long enough that Scott felt the need to act, even if that action came in the form of snark.
Appearing on a Kentucky radio station last week, McConnell called Scott’s sunset plan “just a bad idea.”
“I think it will be a challenge for him to deal with this in his own reelection in Florida, a state with more elderly people than any other state in America,” McConnell said.
This marks the second time that Scott has modified his plan to appease loud critics. He previously dropped a point that all Americans should be forced to pay at least some federal income tax after he was labeled as anti-poor.
Scott, who has previously tried to unseat McConnell as Republicans’ leader in the Senate, has undoubtedly taken some losses through his modifications, but there is an optimistic view as well.
The fact that he, not McConnell, has become the target of Democrat anger, speaks to how Scott is viewed in the eyes of Democrats. A political opponent wouldn’t expend so much effort on a still-first-term senator unless that senator was hovering over a nerve or seen as a legitimate threat.