FACT CHECK: Did Rick Scott Tell Floridians To Return Their Stimulus Checks?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott told Floridians to return their stimulus checks.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Scott asking Floridians to return their stimulus checks. He sent a letter to governors and mayors asking them to return federal money that wasn’t used for COVID-19 related spending.

Fact Check:

President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion economic relief package, into law on March 11. The package, which was opposed by many Republican lawmakers, includes funding to send $1,400 direct payments to many Americans, as well as $350 billion in aid to state, local and tribal governments.

The March 11 Facebook post claims Scott, who voted against the American Rescue Plan Act, “implores Floridians to return Stimulus Checks.”

There is, however, no evidence Scott urged Florida residents to do so. Check Your Fact searched through Scott’s press releases and verified social media accounts, but found no instances of Scott telling Floridians to return their stimulus checks. A search of the congressional record likewise turned up no results for the remark. Had Scott made such a request of his constituents, major media outlets likely would have covered it, yet none have.

Clare Lattanze, Scott’s press secretary, confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email that Scott made no such statement. (RELATED: Viral Video Claims You Have To Pay Back Your Coronavirus Stimulus Payment?)

“I can confirm that Senator Rick Scott has not called for Floridians, or any American, to return their personal stimulus checks,” Lattanze said.

Lattanze further directed Check Your Fact to a March 10 letter sent by Scott to governors and mayors asking them to “reject and return any federal funding in excess of their federally-reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses.” The claim appears to stem from a misinterpretation of that letter. At no point in the letter does Scott urge Floridians to return their direct COVID-19 stimulus payments.

“I am writing you today with a simple and common sense request: each state and local government should commit to reject and return any federal funding in excess of your reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses,” the letter reads in part. “This commitment will serve the best interests of hard working American taxpayers and will send a clear message to Washington: politicians in Congress should quit recklessly spending other people’s money.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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