Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tried to dodge questions from Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who pointed out the senator’s hypocrisy in saying the government should “live within our means” to justify his opposition to the bipartisan infrastructure bill when he voted for the Trump tax cuts that raised the deficit.
Noting Scott’s opposition to the bipartisan infrastructure bill as well as the budget reconciliation bill that contains much of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, Wallace asked why he didn’t join 19 other Republican senators in voting for the bipartisan package, especially when Florida’s infrastructure would benefit from provisions of the legislation.
“Chris, I believe in spending money on real infrastructure. Roads, bridges —,” Scott began, but Wallace interrupted.
“That’s what this bill has in it, sir,” he said.
Scott responded by saying he balanced the budget and cut taxes as governor of Florida and then went on to say that inflation is rising because of government spending.
“I’m not going to bankrupt this country. This country has almost $30 trillion worth of debt, and that bill by itself was a quarter of a trillion dollars of debt. This has got to end. This is causing inflation,” Scott said. The federal government should instead “live within our means,” Scott added, using a favored Republican tactic of comparing the American government’s budget to a household budget, although some economists argue that is an inapt comparison.
“Senator, you talk about living within your means, you talk about the debt, you talk about deficits,” Wallace pushed back. “The Trump tax cuts which were passed in 2017, the year before you were elected to the Senate, is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office that it is going to increase the deficit by over $2 trillion over 11 years. So should the Trump tax cuts be repealed?”
Scott dodged and weaved, again giving a non-answer about his time as governor of Florida. It’s important to note, however, that the 2017 tax cut bill did not “pay for itself” as Trump and Republicans promised it would. Nor did Republicans lower spending while Trump was president. In fact, the national debt grew so much under Trump (almost $7.8 trillion), he oversaw the third-largest deficit increase of any president.
“But, sir, respectfully, when Donald Trump was president, you had the tax cut which added $2 trillion to the deficit, according to the CBO, and you didn’t have the commensurate spending cuts,” Wallace pointed out. “So the question is: If you’re not going to have the spending cuts, should you repeal the tax cuts, if the debt and deficit are so vital?”
“I am not raising anybody’s taxes,” Scott responded. “I want lower taxes. I want to watch how we spend our money. I’ve been in the Senate for two years and nine months. The waste is staggering. Americans should be furious with the way money is spent in the Senate and all Congress … We’ve got to figure out how to live within our means.”