Government Bytes


The Fiscal Career of the New South Carolina Senator

by Dan Barrett / /

Congressman Tim Scott (R-SC) will be going from a freshman in the House to a freshman in the Senate today. With Senator Jim DeMint's (R-SC) departure from the chamber to serve as President of the Heritage Foundation, Governor Nikki Haley appointed Congressman Scott to serve until November 4, 2014, where a special election will determine who will serve out the remainder of Senator DeMint’s term. One of the questions taxpayers have is what will Tim Scott do as a Senator with federal spending? He will be expected to weigh in on issues coming up such as immigration reform, the implementation of the across-the-board sequestration cuts, and entitlement reform. Perhaps the best tool to see how he would affect the budget is the National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s BillTally project, which tracks the proposed spending of every federal legislator. Below is Tim Scott’s proposed spending agenda from the first session of the 112th Congress:

Congressman Tim Scott's Proposed Spending Agenda
(in millions of dollars)
Proposed Increases
Proposed Decreases
Net Agenda
Source: NTUF BillTally System

However, net agendas are not the whole story. Congressman Scott supported 25 budget-influencing measures that could either grow or shrink the federal ledger. Six bills would increase outlays whereas 19 bills would decrease federal government spending. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Health Care: In 2011, Congressman Scott supported six health care-related pieces of legislation that could have a budgetary impact, four of which would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)*.  At the time that the four repeal bills were introduced, NTUF cited multiple sources to determine the $40.3 billion yearly spending reduction however, NTUF Director of Research Demian Brady found that similar measures to repeal the ACA (that were sponsored after the first session) would result in a $63.9 billion annual reductions.
  • Energy: Three bills that Tim Scott pushed for would either increase the allowable offshore areas that could be drilled or explored for oil and natural gas or decrease the regulations that currently limit offshore drilling.
  • Spending Caps: The Congressman either sponsored or cosponsored three bills that would impose a cap on federal spending in various forms. For example, H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act would limit public spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) versus H.R. 1848, the One Percent Spending Reduction Act, which would set a target of approximately $33 billion in annual spending cuts.
  • Foreign Policy: Three bills were also supported by the Congressman that have a direct impact on America’s foreign policy. Two measures attempt to address nuclear proliferation, focusing on Iran in certain cases, and one would prohibit American tax dollars from funding the United Nations Population Fund.
  • Fundamental Tax System Reform: Tim Scott was a cosponsor of H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act. The bill would eliminate the income-based tax system and replace it with a consumption-based system. More information on this bill can be found in this 2011 Taxpayer’s Tab.

NTUF is still compiling spending estimates and scoring newly introduced legislation. We expect to have a complete fiscal picture of the proposals of Tim Scott and the rest of the 112th Congress in the coming months.

* According to BillTally rules, NTUF does not double-count similar legislation. We take the single bill with the largest budgetary impact and integrate that with the legislator’s net spending agenda.