By Bridget Johnson
The midterm Republican rout in Congress may seem like just yesterday, but one prominent freshman has packed more into his first 18 months on the Hill than some lawmakers do a few terms in.
Tapped for a leadership position from the minute he stepped into Washington, Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), along with Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), was chosen to be a Class of 2010 liaison to the Republican House chiefs. He's also on the Rules Committee and a member or co-chairman of 20 caucuses, including the conservative Republican Study Committee.
"Two arms simply aren't enough when everyone's pulling on them from different directions," Scott told PJM, reflecting on this challenging yet productive and sometimes "painful" term.
"I enjoy the role of pulling people together while remaining committed to conservatism," he added. "I'm having the time of my life in having to face some of the greatest crises that I didn't even know were there."
It's included sponsoring more than 40 bills, including a resolution to rescind funding for ObamaCare and another to dial back National Labor Relations Board meddling in the workplace.
And it's also included pulling together last Thursday's Revitalizing America conference, which was open to the public and brought together business leaders and lawmakers to chat for more than seven hours about how to really put Americans to work and foster the entrepreneurial spirit.
Scott called the event a "smashing success." Participants included House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Steve Forbes, Carly Fiorina, Domino's Pizza CEO Patrick Doyle, Honeywell CEO Dave Cote, House Republican Caucus Vice-Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), and Reps. Noem, Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.).
"So often we live in a bubble on this side of the Potomac and the bubble doesn't always include the job creators," Scott said, noting that he conducted quarterly CEO summits when he served in government back in his home state.
In addition to members who served on panels, other lawmakers wandered in throughout the day to hear the discussion that hopefully, said Scott, created that spark of understanding needed to craft business-friendly policies.
"I think we saw that," he said.
It just so happened that his Hill event preceded by a day the release of May's disappointing Labor Department numbers, showing much lower than projected job growth and an uptick in the unemployment rate to 8.2 percent.
And the week before meeting to discuss Revitalizing America, Scott met with the face of the American economy at one of his town hall meetings in Charleston.
"One of the great challenges is the number of job seekers has fallen off, as well," Scott said. "There's a way to play games with numbers before the election."
He predicted that the Obama administration could tweak the unemployment to begin with a 7 by the time the presidential election arrives, only to bounce back up after November.
"I believe that's where the administration is trying to drive us to, even if it's an artificial number," Scott warned.