Mitch McConnell removes GOP lawmakers who challenged his leadership from Senate panel

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday booted two Republican lawmakers from a powerful Senate committee after a failed attempt to oust them from their leadership positions last year.

Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are no longer members of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees issues related to interstate commerce, science and technology policy, and transportation. And according to Scott, it’s personal

“This is what happens when you challenge leadership,” Scott said in a statement to The Post on Wednesday.

“It was McConnell’s decision to remove somebody who actually ran a business and ran the third-largest state on the committee that I served on for four years. You have to ask him. Ga why,” he added.

Rick Scott has represented Florida since 2019.
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The junior senator from Florida made an unsuccessful bid for the top GOP Senate seat shortly after the 2022 midterm elections.

Scott’s bid to unseat McConnell, the GOP leader in the Senate since 2007, was strongly supported by Lee, who gave one of the speeches nominated for Scott’s takeover bid.

McConnell, 80, successfully blocked the challenge with the support of 37 senators, while Scott received 10 votes and one senator voted “present.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” McConnell told reporters after exiting the closed-door vote and giving the thumbs up.

Senator Mike Lee has represented Utah since 2011.
Mike Lee has represented Utah since 2011.

The GOP leader insisted last year that there were no hard feelings about the challenge.

“I don’t resent being in any way opposed or getting a few votes in opposition,” he said after his re-election. “I’m very proud of the 37 to 10.”

Scott and McConnell traded what aides said were “candid” and “lively” barbs during a long dinner with private GOP senators in November that lasted several hours. According to reports, they sparred over the midterms and the quality of GOP candidates and their differences over fundraising.

According to HillMcConnell, Scott, Lee, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who left the panel to take a seat on the Senate Finance Committee.

The offices of Lee and McConnell did not respond to The Post’s requests for comment.

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