WASHINGTON -- On the same day Ron DeSantis moves into the governor's mansion, Rick Scott goes to Washington. The Republican leader took office Tuesday, five days late to finish his term as governor.
- Florida has 2 Republican senators for first time since the 19th century
- Scott says the government shutdown will be his top priority
- Scott got Budget, Armed Services, Commerce committee assignments
- PREVIOUS STORY: Rick Scott Sworn In as US Senator
"It’s exciting to be up here, this place doesn’t seem to be working very well," Scott said ahead of his swearing in ceremony.
As a result of delaying his swearing in, the former chief executive is now the most junior member of the U.S. Senate. However, this has not impacted his committee assignments for the 116th Congress. Senator Scott snagged a seat on the powerful Budget committee. He’ll also serve on Armed Services, Commerce and Homeland Security and the Special Committee on Aging. Many of those assignments are the same as his predecessor, former Senator Bill Nelson. Now, two Republicans will represent the state for the first time since the 19th century.
“Sen.Rubio and Sen. Nelson had a great working relationship but their votes often canceled each other out," said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-1st District. "It was as if, at times, Florida didn’t have a voice. Now, with Florida anchoring two Republican senators, I think we will be able to be a reliable source of support for the Trump administration.”
Scott is kicking off his term with a high-dollar fundraiser for his political committee in Washington. As the government enters its 18th day of the partial shutdown, some members of the Florida delegation say raising money while thousands of federal workers are going unpaid is not appropriate.
“That shows you how out of touch he is with regular Americans that are living in Florida," said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-26th District. "Thirteen-thousand Floridians are going without pay and I have to tell you actually, today I wrote a letter asking Sen. Rubio and Sen. Scott, to take on the legislation that we passed last Thursday which is a bipartisan bill to reopen the government.”
That package of bills would fund the majority of the government except homeland security, allowing temporary funding to work out the wall issue. The Senate has not brought up either bill for consideration and the White House has promised to veto both. Scott told reporters Tuesday that reopening the government is his top priority.
“I’m going to be talking to people to see how I can be helpful. I’m going to reach out to the president. I’m going to do everything I can to move the process along. I want the government to work," he said