When South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced Monday that she would appoint Rep. Tim Scott to replace Senate Jim DeMint in the upcoming 113th Congress, she was full of praise for his voting record in the House and enthusiastic about his future in the Senate: "It is with great pleasure that I am announcing our next U.S. senator to be Congressman Tim Scott. I am strongly convinced that the entire state understands that this is the right U.S. senator for our state and our country."
Her announcement had nothing to do with making Scott the only black senator in the 113th Congress or the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction. Haley, born into a Sikh family in Punjab, India, said: “It is important to me, as a minority female, that Congressman Scott earned this seat. He earned [it] for the person that he is. He earned [it] with the results that he has shown.”
At the announcement, Senator DeMint also expressed confidence that Scott, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, would continue to fight the good fight: “I can walk away from the Senate with confidence knowing that someone is replacing me who is better than I am.”
Scott is a Tea Party favorite and is supported by the Club for Growth (best known for inventing its “RINO Watch” list) and FreedomWorks (initially funded by businessman David Koch of Koch industries), while at the same time he is disparaged by ultra-left groups such as People for the American Way who said Scott “embraces the religious right’s anti-gay, anti-choice social agenda and the Tea Party’s anti-government, anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda.”
Scott started off his congressional term in the House by offering legislation to curb the power of the National Labor Relations Board to prohibit employers from relocating to Right-to-Work states. This coincided with the NLRB’s announced opposition to Boeing’s decision to move a major production facility from Washington State (a collective bargaining or “forced union” state) to South Carolina.
He also had a chance to flex his conservative muscles when the debt deal providing for increasing the national debt ceiling was voted on in the summer of 2011. He voted against the increase.
And he was adroit in declining the invitation by the hard-left Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to join it, saying only that “my campaign was never about race” and that “the black community, like all communities, will benefit when businesses can use their profits to hire more workers instead of paying higher taxes…I don’t think those ideals are advanced by focusing on one group of people.” He neatly left out of his statement any reference to the radical backgrounds of the people involved in CBC from the very beginning, such as Ron Dellums, Charles Rangel, John Conyers, and Shirley Chisholm.
But a more extensive look at his voting record, so far, has revealed a disappointment to the expectations of those following and supporting him. When it comes to constitutional limitations on federal power, Scott waffles. For example, he supported a bill to expend $300 million of taxpayer funds in dredging the Charleston harbor, saying that it was not an earmark but was instead “merit-based” and somehow in the “national interest” because larger cargo ships would be able to use the harbor and thus would “create jobs.”
In February, 2012, he voted in favor of a line-item veto which would dramatically increase the power of the executive branch of the federal government far beyond the limitations placed by the Constitution. In March 2012 he voted against an amendment to repeal the so-called “death panels” built into ObamaCare. As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council noted, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) “will be sitting at the controls of Washington [bureaucrats] making health decisions for you.”
In May 2012 he voted to increase the budget for the unconstitutional Export-Import Bank from $100 billion to $140 billion, despite saying that he favored lower government spending. And that same month Scott voted against an amendment to protect American citizens from detainee-related language contained in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
In July 2012 Scott had another chance to vote according to his promises to reduce government spending by reducing overseas military spending by $21 billion. But Scott was having none of it, claiming instead that the United States should maintain a continued military presence in Afghanistan and that an early withdrawal would only benefit al-Qaeda.
He voted in September to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which allows warrantless surveillance of “foreign targets” which could readily include innocent American citizens. Such warrantless surveillance is unconstitutional, but this failed to deter Scott from supporting it.
The New American's "Freedom Index," from which this information was drawn, rates how every member of the House and Senate vote on key issues based upon following the limits placed on the national government by the Constitution. Accordingly, Scott’s rating for his two years in the House is a paltry 78 percent
As noted by USA Today, “Scott quickly became a favorite of House Speaker John Boehner and GOP officials in Washington and served in a leadership position for the 2010 freshman class.” And the Washington Post explained that Scott “made sense for the appointment for a whole host of reasons, including his close relationship with Haley and DeMint and his ties to both the conservative base and the party establishment.” [Emphasis added.]
Those looking for a Ron Paul lookalike in the Senate are likely to be disappointed with Tim Scott.
Photo of Rep. Tim Scott: AP Images