South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has appointed Tea Party stalwart Rep. Tim Scott to complete the term of outgoing U.S. Senator Jim DeMint. DeMint announced this month that he is leaving the U.S. Senate to run the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Tim Scott will be the second black Republican since Reconstruction to serve in the U.S. Senate, and for that reason alone his appointment would be significant. But it is significant in a less pleasant way as well: like Gov. Haley and like Sen. DeMint, the new Senator Tim Scott is incredibly hostile to labor unions and the rights of workers.
In his less than two years in Congress, Rep. Scott has been a reliable vote on such anti-worker fare as trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act 33 times. But he also has taken care to target workers’ rights while making sure corporations were treated with leniency. He sponsored H.RES.129, which eased reporting requirements on corporations, as well as H.R. 2145, essentially a “right to work” bill for federal employees.
In fact, one of the first pieces of legislation Scott put his name on was H.R. 1135, which contains a provision making a family ineligible for food stamps if even one member of the family is on strike. The bill made no exception for children or other dependents. As one commenter put it, “The Republicans are offering a choice between..Not being able to put food on the table…and…Not being able to put food on the table.”
Scott came to Washington as part of the 2010 corporate-backed Tea Party wave, and he has not forgotten who sent him there. His top donors include the lobbying firm Burroughs & Chapin, the infamous banking firm Goldman Sachs, and the health insurance giant Blue Cross/Blue Shield. When you put it that way, his votes aren’t much of a surprise.
The new Senator Tim Scott is required to run in a special election in 2014 to fill the remainder of DeMint’s term. If he wins, he will have to run for another term in 2016.