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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pull quote: "[W]e like disparity"

On Meet the Press today, SC Senator Tim Scott said Republicans are all over the map in their views.

And he detailed just about all of the 17 bills he has introduced in two years on the job. Busy man, our Tim.

DAVID GREGORY:
Appreciate it, as always. Joining me now is Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina. This is his first Sunday show interview since being sworn in as Senator in January of 2013. He's also one of two African-American Senators, the other, Democrat Cory Booker from New Jersey. Senator, welcome.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
Good morning, David. Thanks for having me on your show.
DAVID GREGORY:
I want to begin there with some controversy about you as an African-American Senator from South Carolina. You had to deal with some comments from the head of the N.A.A.C.P. in North Carolina. He said the following: "A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy. The extreme right wing down here in South Carolina finds a black guy to be Senator and claims he's the first black Senator since reconstruction. Then he goes to Washington D.C. and articulates the agenda for The Tea Party." You had to be pretty upset about that. What do you think of it?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
Well, you just can't really respond to someone who's never taken the time to get to know you. So when he's talking about me, he wasn't there when I was growing up in a single-parent household, struggling through high school. He wasn't there when I started my business and I was working 85 hours a week. He wasn't there when I was running for Congress against long odds. So for him to have comments about me, I don't really get it, number one.
Number two, when you look at my agenda, the opportunity agenda, you think about what I'm focused on. I'm focused on something called The Choice Act. We're creating hope and opportunities for individuals and communities through education. I'm not sure what part of that agenda he doesn't like.
DAVID GREGORY:
Yeah.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
Perhaps he doesn't like the fact that we're focusing on kids with special needs and giving them more flexibility so that they can find the education that's best for them. Maybe he doesn't like my Skills Act that says that there are four million jobs today that go unfilled. Here's an opportunity for us to bring more skills to the average person so that they can have not a debate about making it, but having a debate about real opportunity and real prosperity. Or maybe he doesn't like the fact that I believe that we can create hope and opportunities in our inner cities by making them centers of excellence and an engine of economic activity--
DAVID GREGORY:
Let me ask you this.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
--bursting for those kids who grew up in ways that I did.
DAVID GREGORY:
Colin Powell, on this program some time ago, said there was a dark vein of intolerance within the Republican Party. Do you believe that's the case?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
I don't. I'll tell you what. The G.O.P. really has become the Great Opportunity Party. I look at how I became a Republican and the messages that I heard and received very early on as a kid running for County Council in my 20s. One of the things that changed my life was meeting a mentor, a conservative Republican at the time. I didn't know, didn't care, whether he was Republican or Democrat.
But he took the time, over four years, to start talking to me about there's a way out of poverty that does not include athletics or entertainment, that you have an opportunity, through thinking, through business ownership. Having a job is a good thing. But if you create jobs, you will be better, and your community gets better.
And so the first brush I had with politics as a kid at 16 years old, 15 years old, was a conservative guy who thought that the future could be very bright for a kid in a single-parent household if he had the right tools, the right equipment. And he didn't convince me on one side of the aisle or the other side of the aisle, he convinced me to look in a mirror and see the best and brightest future that I could create for myself.
DAVID GREGORY:
One of the issues is that the Republican Party does appear divided. You're conservative, affiliated with The Tea Party. Speaker Boehner has said this week that he thinks the party should stop being the party of opposition, it should really be a party of ideas. And here, you had the President's State of the Union. And four different responses from the Republicans about the State of the Union. Is that division, or is that unity on the Republican side?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:

Well David, so often, people look at the Republican Party and say that we're a monolith party, that we don't have multiple voices with different perspectives on the issues. The fact of the matter is what you saw after the State of the Union is that there are many people in our party that are able to voice their concerns.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
The reason why the party continues to grow is because we like disparity, we like the diversity of ideas. And when we have that diversity of ideas, it helps us to build the best party for the future. And certainly I'm a part of the conservative aspect part of the party. And we have found very great success by partnering with folks who make our party better. So at the end of the day, what America needs is a party that is as diverse as the Republican Party. That is why the great opportunities for our future comes out of the GOP.
DAVID GREGORY:
So agenda items here after the State of the Union. Is Obamacare here to stay?
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
Well, that's a great question. Certainly I voted at least three or four dozen times to eliminate Obamacare. And I've had no success. One of the things I hope we would have on the conversation about Obamacare is we could look at a couple facets of the bill and find a way to restore hope and opportunity.
If we think about the decimation of the 40-hour work week as a part of Obamacare, I took a bus ride throughout the city, by cities in South Carolina, to figure out what real people were saying in their environments. And what I learned was that too many people are stuck now working 30 hours a week because Obamacare eliminates a 40-hour work week. If we had an opportunity to eliminate that aspect of Obamacare, I think we could find more money in the take-home paychecks of many Americans.
Another aspect of Obamacare that we should address very quickly is the medical device tax. Here's another $29 billion leaving the pockets of small business owners, which makes it more difficult to create jobs. As a small business owner myself, here's what you cannot keep asking us to do: Pay higher taxes, as we did January of last year, $630 billion of higher taxes, more regulations. Obamacare takes another $800 billion out of the pockets of small business owners through higher taxes and more revenues.
DAVID GREGORY:
Yeah.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
And hire more people. We can't do all three. We can do two of the three. I'd like to see more jobs created in the private sector.
DAVID GREGORY:
All right. We're going to leave it there for now. We're out of time. Senator Scott, thanks so much for being here. I appreciate your time.
SENATOR TIM SCOTT:
Thank you, David.

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