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Scott Announces New Social Security Plan, McConnell Promptly Attacks Him for It

In 2021, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) put out his presidential campaign platform, which included having all federal laws auto-sunset in 5 years. Just about everyone lambasted him for that and he stopped talking about it for a while. Then, at last week's SOTU speech, Joe Biden pointed out that Republicans want to end Social Security and Medicare in 5 years and Scott took a lot of flak from all directions. In his speech in Tampa last week, Biden repeated Scott's plan to kill Social Security to a group of seniors. He even distributed copies of it to the attendees.

Scott, who is up for reelection in 2024, got worried. In an attempt to recover, he has announced a new bill to "save" Social Security from evil people—like, say Rick Scott. It would require cuts to the program to require a two-thirds majority, something that is probably not legal or even enforceable. This is transparent nonsense. Scott voluntarily drew up a plan that would sunset all federal laws after 5 years (unless Congress passed them again) that was his presidential platform. It got panned from left to right. Now he suddenly has a new plan to protect Social Security. Does he have any credibility at all?

Well, not with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell made it clear that the bill was Scott's and not that of the Republican Party. He also said: "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." It is unusual for McConnell to be so openly critical of another Republican senator, but McConnell clearly thinks Scott has gotten too big for his britches. He also blames Scott, then the chairman of the NRSC, for the poor results in the 2022 Senate races. He probably wouldn't mind a primary challenge to get rid of Scott.

Open feuds between a party leader and a member have happened before, but are very rare. Lyndon Johnson never got along with fellow Democratic senator from Texas Ralph Yarbough. Democratic leader Alben Barkley of Kentucky had such a frosty relation with Kenneth McKellar, Democrat from Tennessee, that McKellar took it upon himself to convince then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt not to nominate Barkley to the Supreme Court, something Barkley wanted. And every senator worth his salt has had a run-in with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Nevertheless, McConnell's clear and obvious distaste for Scott is quite unusual. (V)

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