Gov. Rick Scott accused President Barack Obama today of not showing enough leadership to end Congress's impasse over the budget and avoid a government shutdown. Scott is siding with Republican members of the U.S. House, who say the president refused to negotiate with them to resolve the deadlock.
Of course what the GOP wants is something Obama is unwilling to do: agree to further delays to the Affordable Care Act.
Reading Scott's criticism of Obama gave us a bit of déjà vu. Isn't Scott criticizing Obama in much the same way he was criticized earlier this year?
After announcing in February that he supported Medicaid expansion, Scott seemed to show very little leadership in actually persuading House Republicans to get it done. In fact, lawmakers who wanted the state to expand Medicaid said Scott refused to play a more active and public role during the height of debate. Remember, the "Health Care for Florida Families" sticker he refused to wear on the House floor?
He refused to hold Republican leaders' budget priorities hostage and later declined to call a special session to iron out a compromise. That's what Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, did successfully.
Just like Obama, the governor was plenty vocal about what he thought the Legislature should do. Anytime he was asked, he said he favored Medicaid expansion and an alternative plan by the Senate that would use $51 billion in federal funding to reduce the number of uninsured.
But he also made it clear that he had bigger priorities during the session and that, ultimately, the decision was up to the Legislature. The issue ended in stalemate (déjà vu, again) and roughly 1 million Floridians remain uninsured as a result.
We've asked Scott's office to explain how he showed any more leadership on that issue than Obama has now in the face of a government shutdown. We also asked why Obama being vocal on the importance of averting a shutdown wasn't enough in the governor's eyes. We'll update the post when we receive a response.
Here is Scott's full statement about the budget stalement and pending federal shutdown: