WASHINGTON — Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Monday released an 11-point plan detailing his party’s agenda if they win back the Senate later this year, something other GOP leaders have pointedly avoided doing in order to minimize divisions within their ranks.
The document outlines Scott’s vision for America, one shared by other prominent figures on the far right, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The plan is a campaign document, not a practical governing agenda.
If enacted — something that stands no serious chance of happening — the plan would radically downgrade the federal government, drastically cutting spending on social services, raising taxes on the poor and instituting “race-blind” policies.
The plan also calls for completing Donald Trump’s border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and naming it after the former president; declaring “there are two genders,” part of the anti-LGBTQ push on the right; eliminating questions about race on government forms and instituting term limits for members of Congress to 12 years of service.
“My plan will be ridiculed by the woke left, mocked by Washington insiders, and strike fear in the heart of some Republicans,” Scott said in a statement on Monday. “Americans deserve to know what we will do when given the chance to govern.”
Scott’s approach has differed from other GOP leaders. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in January declined to answer questions about his party’s agenda if they win back power, telling reporters he would “let you know when we take [the Senate] back.”
McConnell, the longtime GOP leader, also opposes term limits for members of Congress. In 2016 he said that if voters want to limit the length of time members of Congress spend in public service, they can vote them out in elections.
Scott is the current chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose job is focused on electing Republicans to the Senate. Unlike McConnell, he has embraced Trump, using his image to raise funds and bolster his party’s chances in November. Scott also voted to object to the 2020 electoral results on Jan. 6, 2021.
The plan is not an official NRSC document, Scott told Politico. It’s possible the senator wants to burnish his own brand in case he’d ever like to run for president. The Florida Republican made trips to early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire last year.
Still, Scott’s manifesto gave Democrats who are desperate for an election foil not named Trump a huge opportunity to go on the offensive. David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called Scott’s plan “a blueprint for Republicans to lose Senate campaigns in 2022.”
“His proposals are a hodgepodge of unpopular and toxic ideas, guaranteed to turn off the voters that will decide the general election in Senate battlegrounds,” he added. “Senate Democrats are fighting to lower costs, crack down on corporations that are getting rich by raising prices on consumers, and finally put the interests of hard working Americans first.”
Scott’s plan starts off with requiring children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school and disallowing teachers from portraying American history in a negative light, following state GOP legislatures in their efforts to ban the teaching of critical race theory.
“Public schools will teach our children to love America because, while not perfect, it is exceptional, it is good, and it is a beacon of freedom in an often-dark world,” it says.
From there, the document offers ideas that might make for good soundbites on right-wing radio but would be either wildly impracticable and even unpopular, such as the proposal to tax the poor.
“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” the plan says. “Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.”
Everyone who works a payroll job pays federal taxes, but Scott is right that only higher earners pay income taxes. Demonizing lower earners for not paying taxes, however, did not help Mitt Romney become president in 2012, and most voters favor higher taxes only on higher earners.
Another proposal? All federal laws would have to be reauthorized every five years, potentially affecting such popular programs as Social Security and Medicare.
“If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,” it says.
Scott also calls for prohibiting debt ceiling increases unless the government is at war. The debt ceiling is a legal limit on how much the government can borrow in order to pay for previously authorized spending; failing to increase the debt ceiling could spark a financial crisis and a recession.