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Rick Scott's Obama shuffle: Sequestration is bad (this time because of hurricanes)

@MarcACaputo with @cmorganherald

Florida Gov. Rick Scott continued his political evolution Wednesday in opposing conservative-sought budget cuts -- this time because of hurricane preparedness.

Scott's made his comments during the Governor's Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale where he wondered if the National Guard would have the money and the manpower to help the state recover from a disaster. Under the federal budget cuts, known as "sequestration," guard members could be furloughed, improperly trained or both.

“My biggest concern is that while they say sequestration will stop during a disaster, are they going to be ready in the meantime?” Scott asked.

But  Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, and Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the cuts wouldn’t jeopardize public safety or federal response to disasters. When it came to the National Guard, Fugate said, it was the governor’s decision to call soldiers out and an expense that states always pay for.


So sequestration won't really affect hurricane preparedness and response, then.

In addition, Scott said he was relieved that the FAA had rescinded furloughs of air traffic controllers, which could have had a devasting impact on  state economy dependent on tourism.

Scott, touting a decision by Hertz to move its corporate headquarters from New Jersey to Fort Myers, also joked: "Your job is not going to get easier because I'm going to do everything I can to get more people here."

Scott has already criticized sequestration for its effects on reducing Border Protection agents at Miami International Airport, thereby causing long lines (and even overnight stays) of international passengers. Initially, Scott voiced concern about military budget cuts in a state like Florida, ringed by military bases from the Pensacola area to Key West to Jacksonville.

But for a few Republicans like Scott, the main critics of budget cuts have been Democrats. But Scott has sounded more and more like a Democrat as his poll numbers have been stuck in the cellar.

Potentially facing the ultimate flip-flopper, former Gov. Charlie Crist (Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat), the leftward Obama shuffle is understandable for Scott. To many in his own party, he's starting to look as if he's out-Cristing Crist.

At the beginning of the legislative session this year, Scott called on fellow Republicans in the Legislature to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Republicans in the House refused. For a governor who campaigned against Obamacare, it was quite a pivot. But then, so was his signing of a state budget stuffed with Obama stimulus money his first year in office.

What's next? A softer line on immigration from the politician who campaigned for an Arizona-style immigration bill, only to do nothing about it?


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Juan Tutri

Arizona-style RACIST law Rick Scott supported. He doesn't like Hispanics.


Ouch, the Governor is supposed to be the Commander in Chief in the state and he doesn't know where the money comes from?

I guess the National Guard doesn't operate like Medicare fraud.


Well, Mark ... according to what you reported, the Gov was concerned that Natty Guard readiness and force strength might suffer from sequestration prior to the his need to call them up (and pay) for disaster recovery.

So either your reporting on that was off, or your critique on that point is misplaced.

This Gov, like the last one, has provided ample ammo for the press to fire at him without having to twist something into being.

Cris Calitina

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Rick Scott is seriously going to complain that sequestration will leave less money for the National Guard? There is money being wasted left and right in this state. Here is one example of a contract that never should have been awarded, was abused once it was, and we are all paying for this garbage while schools close.
Rick Scott's office knows about this but special interests and big business always come before the taxpayer with him. The only reason he's whining about sequestration is to try to look like he cares what happens to Floridians. Too little too late, Slick Rick.


You, Madame Author, obviously have not done your homework. I am in the National Guard and am a former Military Technician (I would be one of the guys having my hours cut if I still were one...).

The reason it hurts readiness is because the primary function of most of these Techs is maintenance. Our vehicles sit and rot for most of the month and then get turned on for 10 minutes (tops) during PMCS at drill one time every month. Dry rot and other sorts of issues coming from lack of regular use plague National Guard and Reserve vehicles. These mechanics at the are the guys being cut, and they are also the people responsible for keeping the National Guard's "Rolling Stock" on the road. Their hours are being cut, meaning less time to repair and service vehicles. These vehicles will be the ones you see broken down on the side of the road when you head into the area hit by the hurricane later this year. Mechanics cut by 20%, that means 20% less time for vehicle maintenance, and 20% more vehicles broken down on the side of the road.

They also process pay, manage budgets, maintain sensitive information, handle I/T computer and network issues and assist the Active Guard supply folks, among other things. The AGR guys have enough on their hands even with Technicians to assist, taking away their help only makes their job harder. Yes... it will most certainly impact readiness when that AGR Supply Sergeant cannot order his 3 days of supply because he was moving equipment for turn in to Camp Blanding instead of making sure his unit was ready for DSCA (Defense Support of Civil Authorities).

Before you go making snarky comments, maybe you should understand what it is you're talking about. Cutting half of the work force only puts undue burden on the very few full timers that are there. Full Time Staff members of the National Guard already do everything the active duty troops do with a (very thin) skeleton crew... Sequestration is now removing the tibia for one work day a week. Good job, D.C. politicians, way to go...


Excuse me, I meant Mister Author.

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