U.S. Sen. Rick Scott votes against COVID relief package

Former governor and current Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. Official Senate portrait; U.S. Senate website.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida was one of a handful of senators who didn’t vote for the $900-billion COVID-19 relief package.

The Senate had combined two bills and cleared the package in a 92-6 vote shortly before midnight on Monday. The White House has signaled Trump will sign the 5,593-page measure.

Scott went on Twitter to explain his decision, saying, “I supported and fought for many of the COVID provisions in last night’s bill. Unfortunately they were attached to an omnibus spending bill that was thousands of pages long and chock full of handouts to special interests and wasteful spending. I couldn’t support it.”

In a news release titled “Washington is Broken,” Scott was concerned about the way the measures were handled.

“Vital programs are being attached (to the spending measure) “without giving members a chance to read it,” Scott said, among other concerns.

Scott’s decision prompted online Twitter comments, some supportive but others negative.

One Twitter commenter said: “Scott never wants to help us! Wake up Floridians! $275 a week unemployment & we are all layed off in the tourism industry! Wake up Florida! We can do better!”

The $275 is a reference to the lowest unemployment figures in the country, based on the amount Floridians receive as well as the number of weeks of unemployment provided.

Another commenter said: “This was supposed to provide assistance to people who are suffering through no fault of their own in FL and the US. Why can’t Congress simply pass a Bill that addresses the single issue instead of loading it with other non-relevant issues? Voting no didn’t help Floridians either.”

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.