Rick Scott urges McConnell to respect House incoming GOP majority and tank yearlong budget deal
Scott, who ran against McConnell for GOP leader, lines up with McCarthy on budget delay
Sen. Rick Scott is urging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans to respect the incoming House GOP majority and block a yearlong budget deal.
Scott, a Florida Republican who challenged McConnell for Senate GOP leader last month, told Fox News Digital that it would be improper to ignore the objections of House Republicans and help Democrats pass a budget deal that funds the government until next October.
"I think we should support the Republicans in the House, they have a majority," said Scott. "They've asked for the opportunity to lead on this next Congress, and we should support a [short-term] budget bill that gives them that opportunity."
Earlier this week, House and Senate appropriators reached a nearly $1.7 trillion budget deal to fund the government until the end of September 2023. It is slated to include more than $858 billion for defense spending, while appropriating $787 billion for domestic spending and additional aid for Ukraine.
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Lawmakers are likely to approve the budget deal next week, but they will need to first pass a one-week government funding bill before Friday to avert a shutdown.
SENATE TEES UP ONE-WEEK FUNDING BILL TO AVERT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
The final budget will require at least 10 GOP supporters to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold within the evenly split Senate. Given that reality, House Republicans say McConnell should only approve a short-term government funding bill that runs until mid-January.
The timeline would give Republicans more leverage in budget negotiations since the party is set to control the House of Representatives.
McConnell has not ruled out passing a short-term funding bill, saying that yearlong budget would require Democrats to abandon partisan poison pills.
"If a truly bipartisan full-year bill without poison pills is ready for final Senate passage by late next week, I’ll support it for our Armed Forces," McConnell said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "Otherwise, we’ll be passing a short-term continuing resolution into the new year."
"A month ago, the American people voted for a new direction in Washington," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the GOP's choice for speaker next Congress. Yet "we've got two members leading appropriations in the Senate who will no longer be here [come January] or be able to be held accountable to their constituents."
McCarthy has said that a GOP-controlled House would force President Joe Biden and the Democrat-run Senate to offer bigger concessions on spending and White House policy in exchange for a budget.
Not everyone believes that will be the case, however. House Republicans will only hold a narrow majority next Congress with hard-line conservatives eager to shut down the government over policy differences and impeach Biden appointees.
"We've been here before during the Tea Party era," said a Senate Republican aide. "The House will grumble about being left out, but they haven't proven themselves as capable of governing either."
McConnell has argued that with Democrats in control of Congress and the White House, Republicans are limited in what they could do.
"We’re on defense," said McConnell. We’re dealing with the cards that we were dealt."
McConnell also said that despite not being in the majority, Republicans were able to exert influence over the budget. Democrats initially wanted to boost domestic spending over defense but were forced to back down due to GOP opposition.
"Given the fact Democrats have the presidency, the House and the Senate, to meet our defense number and to not pay any bonus to the Democrats on the domestic side … is far and away the best we could do given the fact that we don’t control the floor or the government," said McConnell.
Scott said that allowing a GOP House to exert its leverage next Congress is more optimal.
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"They have a majority," said Scott. "I support their efforts to lead on this next Congress."
Allies of McCarthy say that even if every single House Republican could not be counted on to back a budget deal next year, the new majority would still have significant power.
"Biden would be forced to accept a budget deal that is less favorable simply because McCarthy could refuse to bring anything else to the floor," a House GOP aide told Fox News Digital.
"Even if five to 10 wayward Republicans did not fall in line, enough House Democrats would back the deal and avert a government shutdown if Biden was forced to accept it. This is negotiating 101."