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ICYMI: “McConnell vs. Scott: The Senate beef that won’t die” [POLITICO]

From Nora Keefe, DSCC Spokesperson: “As Rick Scott and Mitch McConnell continue their public squabbling they are keeping their party’s agenda to slash Medicare and Social Security front and center. Just like Scott, potential and announced Republican Senate candidates have already pushed to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, and in 2024 voters will hold every GOP Senate candidate accountable for their party’s agenda that attacks these vital programs.” 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. 

POLITICO: McConnell vs. Scott: The Senate beef that won’t die
Sen. Rick Scott is off his preferred committee. Mitch McConnell got a challenge to his GOP leadership. Neither one seems ready to let go of their grievances.
By Burgess Everett
February 15, 2023

Key Points:

  • Scott and McConnell’s split is going the distance.
  • The Florida senator’s performance as chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm and Scott’s own competing legislative agenda…has sparked a nearly yearlong row between the two GOP senators.
  • McConnell warned last week that Scott’s own agenda would become a “challenge” when the former Florida governor stands for reelection.
  • “It’s a problem when you have the president of the United States in his State of the Union saying that Republicans want to get rid of Social Security,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). Because of Scott, she added, Biden “has a kernel to hold onto.”

Washington Post: Why the McConnell-Scott feud isn’t ending any time soon
By Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer
February 14, 2023

  • The long-running public feud between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) continues to flare regardless of how much fellow Republican senators might wish they would just let it go.
  • It’s a tension that began during the last election cycle when Scott was chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It escalated when Republicans failed to win back the Senate majority.
  • It has intensified again in recent days as President Biden and Democrats keep bringing up Scott’s year-old 12-point plan to sunset all federal laws every five years unless Congress votes to keep them, to accuse Republicans of wanting to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
  • McConnell’s exasperation with Scott is long-running.
  • Scott also cozied up to Trump, who McConnell has repeatedly said was a major factor in Republican losses. Scott was one of only eight Republican senators who didn’t vote to certify the 2020 election after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and traveled to Mar-a-Lago to praise Trump. Scott didn’t push back against Trump’s chosen Senate candidates who failed to win crucial races last year in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
  • McConnell suggested that Scott’s much-maligned plan could cost Republicans wins next year, too.
  • Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) opened the Senate floor Monday by discussing Scott’s proposal.
  • “Many within their own party have been very open about wanting to target Social Security and Medicare,” Schumer said. “Rick Scott being among them, and he was the leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”
  • Democrats sense vulnerability in Florida this cycle, a state where 3.8 million people over age 65 receive Social Security benefits, according to 2020 Social Security Administration statistics.
  • “Social Security, Medicare is an incredibly powerful issue and Rick Scott I believe is out of touch with folks in Florida on that issue,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

MSNBC: Ignoring McConnell, Rick Scott pushes controversial entitlement plan
The more Rick Scott talks about his plan for Social Security and Medicare, the more he proves his critics right. No wonder Republicans want him to stop.
By Steve Benen
February 15, 2023

  • “I McConnell said last week… “I think it will be a challenge for [Scott] to deal with this in his own re-election in Florida, a state with more elderly people than any other state in America.”
  • Yesterday, the GOP senator appeared on Fox News and continued to endorse the plan that much of his party hates.
  • “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans, some Republicans, want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” the president said, referring to the Floridian’s far-right plan. Scott, in response, has now repeatedly proven Biden right, insisting that he really does want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.
  • He’s had plenty of opportunities to exempt the social insurance programs from his agenda, but instead, Scott keeps reemphasizing how entirely accurate his critics have been in describing his plan.
  • Finally, let’s not brush past the fact that Scott isn’t just complaining about Democratic criticisms that he keeps admitting are accurate, he’s also pushing back against his ostensible GOP allies who desperately want him to stop talking about his unpopular agenda.

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