Rick Scott: If Congress doesn’t pass a budget, they shouldn’t get paid

It's the fourth in the governor's "Make Washington Work" series of proposals.
Gov. Rick Scott greets supporters at a campaign rally June 26, 2018. Credit: Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times.
Gov. Rick Scott greets supporters at a campaign rally June 26, 2018. Credit: Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times.
Published June 26, 2018|Updated June 26, 2018

Rick Scott's latest policy proposal in his bid for Florida's U.S. Senate seat takes aim at lawmakers' paychecks.

In a rollout event at Florida Forklift in Tampa, the governor said congressional officials shouldn't get a salary if they fail to pass a budget.

"In Washington, it's completely dysfunctional. They don't do their job. They don't get things done," Scott said to the crowd of several dozen, which included state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa. "Why should they get paid when they don't do their job? Their most important job is the budgeting job."

The policy is Scott's fourth in a series he calls, "Make Washington Work." He's also called for congressional term limits and a presidential line item veto — proposals which would require Constitutional amendments — and for the requirement of a Congressional two-thirds majority vote for tax increases.

Read more about Rick Scott's policy proposals here, here and here

In a highly polarized Washington, Scott's proposal could punish the Congressional members living more or less paycheck to paycheck.

But a spokesman for Ron DeSantis, R-Palm Coast, who claimed that his Congressional paycheck amounted to about 90 percent of his 2017 salary on recent disclosure forms, said DeSantis supports Scott's proposal.

The governor also brushed off concerns about the feasibility of his program after the event.

"I'm going to continue to put out policy proposals," Scott said in brief press conference. "I know some of them are going to be difficult to get done. I'm not going to give up. I'm going to work hard to get them done. I don't think anyone thought we could get to 1.5 million jobs when I got elected back in 2010. We worked on that every day and we dealt with our numbers there."

A spokeswoman for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott's all but certain opponent this fall, noted that Nelson voted for a 2013 measure that would have suspended Congressional pay until a budget resolution for the 2014 fiscal year was passed.

Under that law, even if Congress failed to pass a budget, they would have received their paychecks on Jan. 5, 2015, the last day of the 113th Congress. (DeSantis supported the bill.)

The measure passed, but 33 of the 34 Senate "Nay" votes came from Republicans.

"Rick Scott's extreme partisanship is exactly what's wrong with Washington and the source of this problem," the spokeswoman, Carlie Weibel, said in a statement. "Bill Nelson supported this legislation, proving he will work across the aisle – not wedded to a party or ideology – to compromise and do what's best for Floridians."

Times/Herald staff writer Emily L. Mahoney contributed reporting.