The National Republican Senatorial Committee chair wants his party to increase taxes for more than 100 million Americans.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) claimed on Friday that he stands by his proposal to raise taxes on most Americans and to have Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid expire and be subject to renewal every five years. Moments later he called himself a guy fighting "for lower taxes every year" and complained that Congress isn't doing enough to preserve those entitlement programs.
In an interview, Scott, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, was asked by host Bob Harden about the response to the 11-point "Rescue America" proposal he released in late February.
Scott noted that some in his party have opposed being candid with the voters about what they would do if they win a majority in the 2022 midterm elections, but that he is proud to stand by his proposals:
The real world, we all get judged. In politics, people don't want to be judged. I'm fine. I'm fine with telling people, "This is what I'm gonna do." When I had my elections, I told people, "If you want big government, I'm not your guy. If you want lots of taxes, I'm not your person." I'm gonna fight for lower taxes every year, I'm gonna fight for smaller government. I want programs, I want safety nets. But I want to also fix programs. Like, Medicare's going bankrupt in four years. Is there — do we have any conversation in Congress about how we're gonna make sure it lasts? None. Do we have any conversation about Social Security that goes bankrupt in 12 years? That's not right.
At the bottom of his section on "economy/growth," Scott proposes, "All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax."
His "government reform & debt" section includes a bullet item that reads, "All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again."
While the vast majority of Americans have "skin in the game" through federal payroll taxes, gasoline taxes, alcohol taxes, tobacco taxes, and state and local taxes, about 102 million do not earn enough to pay federal income taxes. They include retired people and those earning less than $28,000 annually.
Scott's proposal would be a significant hike for the very people who can afford it the least.
Democrats across the country have condemned Scott's plan. "This just in: Republicans have released their plan if they win the Senate," the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said in a response ad. "It's to raise taxes on over 50% of Americans, including many seniors and working families. If Republicans win, we'll pay the price."
Many Republican Senate incumbents and candidates have endorsed some or all of Scott's proposal. Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville told Politico he was "on board" with the package, and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson told Breitbart he was for "most of it."
Scott, who backed former President Donald Trump's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and vowed last November that he was "not going to raise anybody's taxes," has been cagey about the tax hikes in his proposal.
Hours after releasing his plan, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he was "of course not" proposing higher taxes and that it was Senate Majority Leader "Chuck Schumer who wants to raise taxes for everything, while I've cut, I've cut, as governor I cut taxes and fees 100 times. We're the opposite."
Two days later, Scott's spokesperson told FactCheck.org that the senator did want to make low-income families pay more, but assured the outlet, "That obviously would not include retirees who have paid plenty in taxes or working Americans who are paying into the system through either income tax or payroll tax."
Few Republican senators or candidates have been willing to say whether they specifically support the new taxes suggested in Scott's plan. But already this cycle, at least 13 Republican incumbents and one candidate have taken the legal maximum donation of $10,000 from Scott's leadership PAC.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.