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Revenge? McConnell Removed Rick Scott From Powerful Senate Committee

Rick Scott Mitch McConnell

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Following the 2022 midterm elections, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) challenged Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) leadership among Upper House Republicans. Although he failed in his bid, in some ways he weakened the still minority leader. While McConnell took the challenge in stride, when it came to divvying up the tasks, he chose to remove Scott from one of the Senate’s most powerful committees. The message seems to be clear, challenging the veteran Kentucky senator’s leadership comes at a cost.

Scott, who was shown the exit door from the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, one of the most important on Capitol Hill, was not the only one to try to unseat McConnell, Mike Lee (R-UT) also did and suffered the same fate as the former Florida governor.

The responses were not long in coming. “McConnell has to choose. He kicked me out; he kicked Lee out,” Scott himself confirmed in an interview, later remarking that he is one of the legislators with the most business experience.

“I probably ran the biggest company almost any senator in the history of the country has ever run. I was governor of the third-biggest economy in the United States, Florida. I’ve got a business background,” he added.

As reported by The Hill, the Florida senator learned of the decision via text message and did not take it in the best way. A person familiar with the episode described the Florida senator as “furious.”

In this case, Senate GOP leader McConnell had sole discretion to decide whether Scott and Lee could remain on the Commerce Committee. This is because it was the third “A-list” committee seat held by both senators.

Priorities of the new Congress for 2023, EFE
Mitch McConnell removed Rick Scott, the senator who challenged him for the leadership of the party in November 2022, from the Commerce Committee. (EFE)

At the root of the conflict, Scott had been at odds with McConnell after the midterm elections, particularly over the distribution of Political Action Committee funds that answered directly to the minority leader.

“What did he expect?”

“What did he expect?” according to The Hill, is how one senator reacted anonymously upon learning of Scott’s removal from the powerful committee. Upon learning of Scott’s challenge in November, McConnell was not upset about it.

“I’m not in any way offended by having an opponent or having a few votes in opposition. I’m pretty proud of 37 to 10,” he expressed after being elected as leader by the aforementioned margin of votes.

The third senator who will also not be on the committee is Ron Johnson (R-WI). But, unlike the two previous cases, he did so of his own volition to take a seat on the also coveted Finance Committee. McConnell, who has served in the Senate since 1985, has already announced the replacements and they are three newcomers to Washington D.C.: Ted Budd (R-NC), Eric Schmitt (R-MS), and JD Vance (R-OH).

Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: [email protected] // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: [email protected]