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- Gaskins said she based her claim on messaging from the North Carolina Democratic Party, which said the NC GOP "signed on" to Rick Scott's "Rescue America" plan by hosting him at their convention.
- Scott was a featured speaker at the NC GOP event.
- But there's no evidence the NC GOP endorsed his plan, and its chairman says they don't plan to.
A North Carolina congressional candidate says the state’s Republican Party wants to raise taxes through what it characterized as "extremist" legislation proposed in the U.S. Senate.
Barbara Gaskins is a Democrat running against U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers a large swath of the state’s coastline. On May 24, Gaskins’ campaign tweeted:
"The N.C. GOP came out in support of Sen. Scott's extremist policy to ‘Rescue America," the post said, referring to Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).
It added that the plan would raise taxes on 40% of the state’s working class, dissolve Social Security and Medicare benefits after five years, close the U.S. Department of Education and enforce identification requirements for voting.
The tweet stood out to PolitiFact North Carolina because the North Carolina Republican Party organization doesn’t regularly promote or endorse bills proposed at the federal level — especially those introduced by lawmakers from other states. And Scott’s bill is controversial, having been rebuked by GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
So does the North Carolina Republican Party endorse Scott’s so-called Rescue America plan? No.
Here are the key points of Scott’s bill and why the Democrats are trying to tie Republicans to it.
Scott is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which campaigns to elect Republican candidates to the Senate. On Feb. 22 he released what he calls "An 11-point plan to rescue America."
The plan called for taxing all Americans and requiring a vote to continue all federal programs, a proposal that Republican leaders have opposed. So Republican candidates have distanced themselves from it.
McConnell said in a press conference that Senate Republicans "will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people, and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years."
Nonetheless, Democrats have tried to elevate it during campaign season as a sign of things to come if the GOP gains control of Congress in the November midterm elections. PolitiFact has reported on the plan and fact-checked multiple misleading claims about it. Here’s a brief explanation of the proposals mentioned in Gaskins’ tweet.
A "tax increase on 40% of N.C.'s working class." Scott’s plan says "all Americans should pay some income tax." While Scott has denied that the plan calls for a tax increase, tax and policy experts previously told PolitiFact that Scott’s plan appears to target people who don’t owe any federal income tax because they don’t earn enough income.
Experts said about 60% of taxpayers fell into that group in 2020, but that the group would likely shrink to about 40% in 2022. The left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimated Scott’s plan would affect 39.8% of North Carolina residents.
"Dissolve Social Security and Medicare benefits after five years." Scott’s plan doesn’t specifically call for ending Social Security and Medicare, but says: "All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again." Sunsetting means programs would expire unless Congress votes to extend them.
"Close the [U.S. Department] of Education." Scott’s plan specifically calls for dissolving the federal department of education. The plan says: "We will close the federal Department of Education. Education is a state function. If Congress wants to spend money on education, they can cut out the middleman and send it directly to schools and parents."
"Enforce ID for voting." The plan says: "Voter ID, requiring a voter to validate their identity, must be the law."
When we emailed Gaskins and asked her to provide evidence for her claim about the N.C. GOP, a campaign spokeswoman cited messaging from the North Carolina Democratic Party. Scott was a featured speaker during the state GOP’s annual convention in Greensboro, North Carolina, last month. In a May 23 press release, the Democratic Party said: "By hosting Scott, North Carolina Republicans signed on to a plan that could raise taxes on nearly 40% of North Carolinians and sunset Social Security and Medicare, which over four million North Carolinians rely on."
Michael Whatley, chairman of the state GOP, says that’s not true. He told PolitiFact NC that he was glad to have Scott speak because, as chair of the senatorial committee, Scott offers unique insight into how the GOP can retake Congress this fall. But that doesn’t mean the state party endorses his bill.
"We’re not going to endorse that," Whatley said in a phone interview.
Donna Williams, chair of the Wake County GOP, attended the event and didn’t recall Scott even mentioning his bill or its details. If Scott had mentioned a call to increase taxes, "I would absolutely remember that," she said, saying it’s "ridiculous for anyone to suggest that inviting someone to come speak implies an across-the-board blanket endorsement of whatever legislation they have."
Aside from Scott’s appearance at the North Carolina Republican Party convention, neither the party nor the Gaskins campaign provided any evidence that the organization had endorsed the Scott plan. In a phone interview, North Carolina Democratic Party spokeswoman Ellie Dougherty reiterated the claims from the email newsletter and said, "We think it's pretty clear where they stand."
Gaskins tweeted that "the N.C. GOP came out in support of Sen. [Rick] Scott's extremist policy to ‘Rescue America.’"
Scott did release a plan that indicates support for raising income taxes and sunsetting federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Even McConnell rebuked the ideas.
However, there’s no evidence that the North Carolina Republican Party has come out in support of Scott’s plan.
We rate this claim False.
Tweet by Barbara Gaskins, Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District.
Email exchange with Madeline Sherry, associate strategist for the Barbara Gaskins for Congress campaign.
Telephone interview with Ellie Dougherty, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Telephone interview with Michael Whatley, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.
Telephone interview with Donna Williams, chairwoman of the Wake County Republican Party.
Story by CNN, "Mitch McConnell rebukes NRSC Chair Rick Scott's plan 'to rescue America'," posted March 1, 2022.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s 11-point plan to "Rescue America" on RescueAmerica.com.
Stories by PolitiFact, "Sen. Rick Scott says his GOP agenda didn’t call for a tax increase. Experts think it did," posted Feb. 25, 2022; "No proof for Val Demings claim that Marco Rubio backs tax hikes like those indicated in Scott’s plan," posted March 9, 2022; "Democratic ad exaggerates GOP embrace and scope of Scott's proposal on Social Security, Medicare," posted April 6, 2022.
Analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, "State-by-State Estimates of Sen. Rick Scott’s ‘Skin in the Game’ Proposal," posted March 7, 2022.
Press release from the North Carolina Democratic Party, "NC Democrats Slam NC GOP for Pushing Extreme MAGA Agenda at State Convention," posted May 23, 2022.
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