Rick Scott was one of six senators to vote against spending bill. Here’s why
Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott was one of six U.S. Senators who voted against a massive $ 2.3 trillion bill to fund the federal government and provide a second round of coronavirus relief as the pandemic is triggering new shutdowns across the country.
The 92-6 vote late Monday night sent the 5,593-page bill that provides many Americans with $ 600 checks and funds the federal government to President Donald Trump's desk through September 30. He is expected to sign the legislation.
Scott said the funding bill process in Congress - where the text was released hours before the final vote after months of closed circuit negotiations between congressional leaders - was unacceptable to him.
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"We were finally provided with the text of the $ 1.4 trillion combined omnibus expense bill and the $ 900 billion COVID auxiliary bill," Scott said in a pre-vote statement . "It's nearly 5,600 pages long and we are likely to vote on it tonight. Who in their right mind believes this is a responsible way of governing?"
The six senators who voted against the legislation were all Republicans who typically opposed efforts to expand federal spending. These include Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who both ran for president in 2016. Scott's failure to vote on the legislation could give him an opportunity to stand out from Conservative voters if he runs in 2024.
A majority of Republicans, including the 2024 potential presidential candidate and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, voted for the legislation. Rubio praised the second round of the Small Business Paycheck Protection Act in a pre-vote statement.
"To all of the small business owners who have worked hard to make ends meet and all of the employees who remain in limbo, help is finally on the way," said Rubio, who heads the Senate's small business committee.
Scott said he also supported most of the COVID auxiliary parts of the bill, which were much smaller than the original demands made by Democrats and House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, but he was against most issues unrelated to the pandemic.
"Classic Washington style, key programs are attached to a bulk spending bill that pledges the futures of our children and grandchildren without allowing members to read them," said Scott. "I have repeatedly voted against enormous and wasteful spending. The easy way is easy to go as Congress continues to harm future generations of Americans, but I will not be a part of it."
The US House passed the bill 359-53 hours before it was sent to the Senate. The entire South Florida delegation voted for the bill, despite three Florida GOP officials, Matt Gaetz, Bill Posey and Greg Steube, voting against the bill. Four Florida Republicans, MPs Neal Dunn, Ross Spano, Dan Webster, and Ted Yoho, did not vote.
Miami Republican MP Mario Diaz-Balart, a member of the House of Representatives federal spending committee, said the legislation included a new round of Everglades funding and an agreement to end surprise medical bills.
"We have already seen Florida benefit from the programs that fund these bills, and if passed today, our state will continue to benefit from them in the future," said Diaz-Balart.
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