Florida Sen. Rick Scott Touts Infrastructure Funding He Voted Against

The Florida Republican railed against the "reckless spending" contained in the measure, which passed with wide bipartisan support last year.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Tuesday became the latest Republican lawmaker to seek credit for the bipartisan infrastructure overhaul he opposed in Congress.

After joining U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials for a tour of the Herbert Hoover Dike, which stands to benefit from investments in the law dedicated to making the Everglades more resilient against climate change, Scott said he was “proud” to help secure “an unprecedented $1 billion for Everglades restoration, the largest single amount ever allocated by the federal government.”

“I’m working to make sure that every dollar of this funding will go toward the most critical projects that build on our restoration efforts and provide a good return on investment for Floridians and all American taxpayers,” Scott added in a statement issued by his office.

His office also released several photos of Scott shaking hands and posing with local officials near the earthen dam that surrounds Lake Okeechobee.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R) meets with local officials at Lake Okeechobee.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R) meets with local officials at Lake Okeechobee.
Office of Rick Scott

President Joe Biden’s administration announced last week that $1.1 billion would be allocated to Everglades restoration as part of the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The measure passed in the Senate in a broad, bipartisan vote of 69-30.

But Scott, who served as governor of Florida before heading off to Washington, wasn’t among the senators who voted aye.

“We have to stop this reckless spending and live within our means. This bill is not paid for, and that’s wrong,” Scott said last year ahead of the bill’s passage.

The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package is projected to add $256 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Many Republicans supported the bill anyway, arguing that CBO’s score didn’t accurately reflect the real-world budgetary effect of infrastructure spending.

Late last year, Scott said party donors were “furious” with those Republicans who voted for the law, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

A request for comment with Scott’s office was not immediately returned.

Scott isn’t the only GOP lawmaker touting funding in the infrastructure law after voting against the bill, though he appears to be the first senator to do so. Reps. Ashley Hinson (Iowa), Kay Granger (Texas), Steve Scalise (La.) and Clay Higgins (La.) did the same. They have sought to explain their reversal by noting they support parts of the law, but not all of it.

The White House, meanwhile, has embraced those lawmakers who are now singing the law’s praises even though they voted against it last year.

“We welcome their support for the president’s agenda,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Monday press briefing.

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