Monday, January 22, 2018

Florida Gov. Rick Scott criticizes U.S. senators, but not Trump over government shutdown

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 2:29 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JEREMY REPER
  • Photo by Jeremy Reper
Florida Gov. Rick Scott's answer for who's to blame for the federal government shutdown: Not his fellow GOP confidante President Donald Trump, but a "group of senators."

It's not clear who exactly that group of senators might consist of. Even so, an inconspicuous finger could be pointed in the direction of Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who voted against a short-term spending bill to keep the government running on Friday.

Nelson's "no" vote was the product of how the proposal didn't include a fix for DREAMers — around 800,000 undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and who are facing the threat of deportation in March if Congress fails to pass a legislative solution.

Scott was asked on Friday if he thought Democrats were to blame for what was still the looming threat of a shutdown, which began at midnight on Friday after the Senate failed to pass stop-gap funding legislation. As of Monday at 1 p.m., the shutdown continues.

"I think everybody's responsible," the governor told Politico. "Everybody's responsible for figuring out how to get a budget done. It just shows the incompetence of Washington. ... Every senator, every representative, everybody's got to figure out how to get this stuff done."

That's a stark change in rhetoric compared to Scott's handling of the 2013 government shutdown, when he was quick to cast blame in then-President Barack Obama's direction:


Just two days removed from the 2013 shutdown, in early October 2013, Scott doubled down on Obama even harder, saying, "The buck stops with the president. It's disappointing he doesn't know how to compromise and negotiate to get a budget done."

So why the temporary case of amnesia on Scott's part, shifting the blame from the president to a GOP-controlled Congress?

Consider the fact that this is the same governor who currently chairs a super PAC supporting Trump, and who raised more than $20 million for then-candidate Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Taking aim at the Senate works in Scott's favor as well, since it's widely speculated that Scott will make a run at Nelson's seat in the Senate during the 2018 mid-terms due to gubernatorial term limits. Scott has not yet announced his intentions to do so.

In part tamping down such considerations, McKinley Lewis, a Scott spokesperson, told Politico on Friday that although there's "a lot of finger pointing going on in Washington, ... the simple fact is that a group of senators voted to shut down the federal government. This avoidable crisis impacts critical services Floridians rely on, including health insurance for children, and our military readiness."

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio voted in favor of the bill along with most Senate Republicans. Rubio blamed Senate Democrats for voting to shut down the government, even though the GOP maintains a majority in both the House and Senate.

"At a time when we face so much chaos in our politics, the only thing worse than a short-term spending deal is a government shutdown. I too support border security, dealing with DACA, increasing defense spending and disaster relief for Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico," Rubio said in a statement prior to last week's vote. "We should keep the government open while continue to work on these issues."

They didn't.

The shutdown came on the one-year anniversary of Trump's presidential inauguration. It's the first shutdown of its kind to occur as one party controls majorities in both the House and Senate.


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