What Did Tim Scott Do in Congress?
As noted above, Republican primary voters do not want Mr. Happy Talk. They want Mr. Revenge. This puts Tim Scott at a
disadvantage to start with, on top of being Black in a party with plenty of racists. But maybe he has such a
distinguished record in his 10 years in the Senate that he will convince people that he's the guy who gets things done.
What has he done in his time there that makes him presidential timber?
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), who supports Scott because he can't stomach either Donald Trump or Ron
DeSantis, listed Scott's greatest legislative achievement as his support for the 2017 bill that gave $3.5 trillion to
wealthy people and big corporations. Did he write the bill? No. Then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his staff
cooked it up in the dead of night and then rammed it through the Senate. Scott is on the Senate Finance Committee, which
along with the House Ways and Means Committee, writes the nation's tax laws, but Scott ranks fifth on the Committee,
behind heavyweights like then-chairman Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who was in his seventh term
in 2017, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), then the majority whip. Scott just sat quietly during meetings and did what he was
told to do.
Is there a Scott Act or something else that he pushed through Congress due to force of personality? No, nothing really big.
Here is the
Roll Call put together of his achievements in Congress.
- Lynching: Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, worked with Sen. Cory Booker
(D-NJ) on a law that designates lynching as a federal hate crime. Joe Biden signed it into law in March. Sure, fighting
lynching is a good thing, but working with Booker, who has clout with Biden, doesn't turn Scott into Lyndon Johnson.
- Opportunity zones: Scott was one of the senators who got his pet project into the 2017
tax bill. It provides a big tax break for corporations that set up shop in distressed areas. There are plenty of them in
his home state of South Carolina, so this can be partly viewed as getting pork for the home folks. Also, giving big
corporations billions of dollars in tax breaks is not universally viewed as a good thing, especially since there are no
safeguards in the program. If a big corporation buys up a lot of land in a distressed area, that counts as a qualifying
investment but it may not help the people who live there. In fact, it may do the opposite by raising land prices.
- Law and order: Scott was a contributor to the First Step Act, which gave federal judges
more discretion in sentencing first-time nonviolent drug offenses. Donald Trump signed it into law in 2017. But since
then, Republicans have moved toward tougher minimum sentences and less flexibility in sentencing, so this was hardly a
- Banking: Scott is now the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. However, like
most Republicans, he is critical of government interference in the banking industry. He is hardly a voice for consumers
or a supporter of stopping banks from exploiting poor people. Maybe he and chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) can work
something out on housing and mortgages, but that remains to be seen. As to the bank failures earlier this year, Scott
made it clear that the fault lay with the banks and the regulators, and definitely not with the Senate Banking
- Voting record: When Donald Trump was president, Scott voted for Trump's positions 97% of
the time. On the campaign trail he could say: "Vote for me, I supported Trump all the time." But with Trump himself on
the primary ballot, many voters will surely decide to vote for the real deal instead of someone who merely supports the real
deal. During Biden's administration, Scott has voted for Biden's position 15% of the time. So fine, he is a loyal
Republican. So are all the other people running in the Republican primary, except maybe Trump himself.
In summary, Scott has not been a brilliant senator who has authored a number of important laws.
He's essentially a backbencher and party loyalist. That doesn't scream "presidential timber" to us. (V)
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