Sen. Tim Scott will lay out the GOP’s case against President Biden’s agenda following the commander-in-chief’s first joint address to Congress on Wednesday, with the South Carolina Republican expected to touch on the economic growth seen under Republicans before the pandemic and hit Democrats on issues including their handling of reopening schools.
In excerpts of his rebuttal released in advance, Scott — the only black Republican in the Senate, who is also being talked about as a contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 — argues that the Biden administration has slow-walked getting kids back in the classroom despite medical experts saying it is safe with the proper precautions.
“Locking vulnerable kids out of the classroom is locking adults out of their future. Our public schools should have reopened months ago. Other countries’ did. Private and religious schools did. Science has shown for months that schools are safe,” Scott is expected to say.
“But too often, powerful grown-ups set science aside. And kids like me were left behind. The clearest case for school choice in our lifetimes.”
Scott’s speech will also offer praise for the Trump administration’s work to fast-track the rollout of vaccines, making the case that Biden took the reins when the country was already beginning to recover from the damage incurred since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
“This should be a joyful springtime for our nation. This Administration inherited a tide that had already turned. The coronavirus is on the run!” the excerpt says.
“Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and the Trump Administration, our country is flooded with safe and effective vaccines. Thanks to our bipartisan work last year, job openings are rebounding. So why do we feel so divided and anxious? A nation with so much cause for hope should not feel so heavy-laden.”
Scott will also highlight the job growth seen under Trump for minority groups across the country, crediting GOP policies for the economic strength seen before shutdowns were put in place.
“Just before COVID, we had the most inclusive economy in my lifetime. The lowest unemployment ever recorded for blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. The lowest for women in nearly 70 years. Wages were growing faster for the bottom 25 percent than the top 25 percent. That happened because Republicans focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans,” the rebuttal excerpt said.
“We passed Opportunity Zones, criminal justice reform, and permanent funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities for the first time ever. We fought the drug epidemic, rebuilt our military, and cut taxes for working families and single moms like mine. Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams. It will come from you — the American people.”
Scott was tapped by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to deliver the “GOP’s vision” in response to Biden’s remarks.
Biden is expected to tout his administration’s plan for job growth, where he is expected to cast blame on the previous administration for the hit the economy took during President Trump’s final year in office and note the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 after Trump spread unfounded claims of mass voter fraud.
“I stand here tonight, we are just one day shy of the 100th day of my administration. 100 days since I took the oath of office—lifted my hand off our family Bible—and inherited a nation in crisis. The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War,” excerpts of his speech released to the press say.
“Now — after just 100 days — I can report to the nation: America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength. Now, I know some of you at home wonder whether these jobs are for you. You feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s rapidly changing. Let me speak directly to you.”
While Republicans have taken aim at Biden’s energy plan, arguing it will kill blue-collar jobs, Biden is expected to make his case on how be believes his proposal will help build the middle class.
“Independent experts estimate the American Jobs Plan will add millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic growth for years to come. These are good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Nearly 90 percent of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan don’t require a college degree. Seventy-five percent don’t require an associate’s degree,” the speech says.
“The Americans Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America. And, it recognizes something I’ve always said: Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class.”
Biden is also expected to incorporate a theme of unity in his remarks in addition to highlighting the number of vaccinations rolled out since he took office as the country continues to look for an end to the pandemic.
We have to prove democracy still works. That our government still works—and can deliver for the people. In our first 100 days together, we have acted to restore the people’s faith in our democracy to deliver,” he is expected to say.
“We’re vaccinating the nation. We’re creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. We’re delivering real results people can see and feel in their own lives. Opening the doors of opportunity. Guaranteeing fairness and justice.”