Appearing on “Fox & Friends” Monday, former Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., announced he will run for U.S. Senate against Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
Taylor is a former Navy SEAL who served one term in the House of Representatives before losing re-election to Democrat Elaine Luria. Attempting a political comeback, Taylor hit Warner for being one of the leading Democrats pushing the Russian collusion conspiracy theory and saying that Warner’s 12 years in Congress were enough.
“We have a leadership crisis in Virginia. Washington is broken. We need a fresh start in the Senate,” Taylor said. “Today, I’m announcing that I’m going to be running to be the next United States Senator from Virginia.”
Before Taylor can challenge Warner, he will have to win the Republican nomination. So far, he is the only declared Republican candidate. But Taylor’s voting record in Congress ought to encourage Virginia conservatives to find another candidate who better represents their interests. During his one term in Congress, Taylor voted for profligate spending, defended unconstitutional powers enabling the NSA to commit privacy abuses, and supported interventionist foreign policies.
Here’s a quick rundown of top votes he took in Congress:
In May 2017, Taylor voted for a $1.1 trillion spending bill that funded Democratic Party priorities and left conservatives out to dry. Roughly 160 conservative priorities were stripped from the bill before it was passed to remove so-called “poison pills” that would upset Democrats. The bill declined to defund sanctuary cities, refugee resettlement, or Planned Parenthood and actually blocked funding for a border wall on the southern border.
In January 2018, Taylor voted against the USA Rights Act, an amendment that would have protected Americans from warrantless surveillance. Under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the National Security Agency has sweeping authority to collect incidental data on Americans while spying on foreign targets. The collected information, including emails and text messages, is stored and can be queried by law enforcement without a warrant or even probable cause.
A bipartisan group of civil rights advocates in Congress supported the USA Rights Act, which would have bolstered Fourth Amendment protections for Americans by limiting the amount of “incidental” data collected by the National Security Administration. The bill failed, and Taylor’s vote enabled warrantless surveillance to continue on Americans uninterrupted.
In March 2018, Taylor voted for another massive government spending bill that broke Republican promises and funded Democratic priorities just before the 2018 elections. This 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed with Republican majorities in the House and Senate did not repeal Obamacare, secure the border, or defund Planned Parenthood. The bill did increase the national deficit by $1 trillion and included a gun control measure opposed by conservatives.
If elected to the Senate, Taylor would have a far greater role in shaping United States foreign policy than he did in the House. And his record in the House suggests he would be a proponent of foreign intervention and nation-building.
In November 2018, Taylor voted for a bill creating an interagency initiative to prevent violence and stabilize foreign countries where conflict exists. The legislation instructed the government to identify at least six countries or regions and develop 10-year plans to address conflicts in those regions to strategically reduce violence there. The U.S. Department of Defense was instructed to provide “security” for stabilization activities of the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The bill also required that the initiative be developed in coordination with foreign governments and mandated regular reports to Congress on all funding requested, planned, and projected to execute these programs.
In summary, this bill expanded the federal bureaucracy for the purpose of inviting the Untied States to intervene in foreign countries where there’s a risk of violence. That’s a noble intention, but the United States cannot be expected to police the rest of the world when this country cannot even secure its own borders. Thankfully, the bill has not come up in the Senate yet and is not law.
In December 2018, Taylor voted for a rule governing floor debate of the farm bill designed by GOP leadership to prohibit members of Congress from debating U.S. military involvement in Yemen. This was completely unrelated to the farm bill (a $900 billion monstrosity that Taylor also voted for) and was brought to the floor in such a way as to conceal what Congress was doing from the American people.
By preventing debate on foreign intervention in Yemen, Congress ceded its Article I constitutional powers to debate and declare war to the executive branch, violating the original intent of the Constitution. Yet Taylor went right along with Republican leadership in support of empowering the executive branch at the expense of Congress.
As a United States senator, Taylor would have the power to advise and consent on President Trump’s nominees. He would vote on foreign treaties proposed by the president and the use of military force. He would be back in the fray with Democrats negotiating over government spending bills. Virginia conservatives should look at Rep. Taylor’s record and ask whether he is fit for that job.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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