A bill designed to appease Republicans in the U.S. House and avert a debt crisis passed Friday evening after Speaker John Boehner spent the better part of 24 hours twisting arms in his own party.
A revised bill, which includes a balanced budget amendment, passed 218-210, was tabled Friday night in the U.S. Senate, which is working on its own plan. Follow the national coverage from our friends at the Huffington Post here.
While Boehner convinced enough members of his own Republican Party to support the House bill, 22 GOP Congressmen voted against it, including all five GOP South Carolina representatives. Rep. James Clyburn, the state's lone Democratic congressman, also voted against the bill.
In the Senate, both Lindsay Graham and Jim DeMint voted against the House bill and with the majority.
At the end of the day, Rep. Joe Wilson's press secretary Neal Patel told Patch, Wilson didn't think that Boehner's bill was "worthy."
While several press reports indicated Boehner and the House GOP leadership was leaning on Wilson and other S.C. congressmen Thursday night, Patel said, "I don't think it was much different from any regular vote. I think the press made it out to be a little bigger than it was."
Patel said Wilson is not dead-set on not raising the debt ceiling, but with Washington media reports and conventional wisdom indicating that the passed Boehner bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate, Wilson will merely wait to see what the Senate counters with before the Aug. 2 default date.
"We'd have to see what those conditions are and I don't know if he would be for or against a [debt ceiling raise] until we know what those conditions are," Patel said. "Until we see the details and we can study the plan, I can't speculate one way or the other."
On Facebook, and in letters and phone calls, Patel said that Wilson's office has gotten direction for and against the debt ceiling raise from citizens across the nation on how to proceed on the issue. As fas as constituents were concerned, however, Patel said the majority seemed to indicate they wanted Wilson to maintain a hard line.
"People were saying, 'stick to your guns,'" Patel said, referring to correspondence from constituents extending from Hilton Head Island to Lexington and Aiken.
Graham praised Boehner for his efforts to end the debt ceiling stalemate and “bring about reform and save the country from default.”
But in the end Graham could not vote for the bill, he said, because: “I fear it does not provide adequate spending reductions in the near-term. I also have little hope that yet another joint committee of Congress will bring about real change, but will be seen as yet another attempt to avoid the hard choices.”
DeMint, while praising the improvements to the House bill could not vote for it either, coming out against the proposed 12-member “Super Congress” and the fact that the bill would not prioritize a balanced budget amendment.
Here is DeMint’s full statement:
“Our nation is on the edge of a fiscal cliff as the President’s failed spending policies have left us with a tattered economy and over $14 trillion in debt. I care deeply for the people of this country and our future prosperity, and believe that if we don’t tackle this debt crisis immediately that we may be unable to stop our slide into economic disaster. While I appreciate the improvements made to the House debt plan, I cannot vote for any increase in the debt limit that does not first send a strong balanced budget amendment to the states that forces Washington to stop spending more than it takes in. And I do not support passing along the responsibilities of 535 members of Congress to a fast-track 12-member commission with the power to raise taxes without extended debate and amendment. Principled conservatives may disagree on this matter, and I respect their opinion, but I believe America cannot wait any longer before we get serious about balancing the budget.”
Here's what all of the South Carolina's Republican House members had to say this evening about voting against their party leadership:
"Washington is broken and we need to stop its out-of-control spending. Due to the inaction of both Democrats in the Senate and the current Administration, our nation’s debt ceiling is now at a critical juncture. This past November, Americans made it clear they expect their elected leaders to make meaningful fiscal reforms today so as to not burden future generations with crushing deficits and debts tomorrow. Holding Washington accountable for its spending is the solution I support." -- said District 2 Rep. Joe Wilson, whose district extends from Lexington and the Midlands down to Hilton Head Island.
"This week I’ve heard from hundreds of constituents who oppose raising the debt ceiling without first adopting significant spending reforms. I apologize to my constituents for being unable to convince more lawmakers to join the cause of demanding permanent spending reform. Even though I’ve only been in Congress for seven months, I can already tell you that Washington will never voluntarily make significant cuts to spending. -- Rep. Jeff Duncan, who represents the far Upstate and District 3.
"There has been a lot of talk in Washington in the last several weeks about a ‘deal.’ But our country doesn’t need a ‘deal.’ It needs a solution. A solution to our spending addiction. A solution to our debts and deficits. And a solution to the business-as-usual approach that brought us to the deplorable condition in which we find ourselves today. I voted against the bill today because I believe that it will not accomplish those things." -- said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who represents the Pee Dee District 5. See his full statement here.
"The Budget Control Act simply does not take the sufficient action needed to secure our nation’s financial future and earn my support. It does not cut enough spending in the short-term, and I need to see the bill mandate a Balanced Budget Amendment immediately. There is no easy answer to the problems we are facing, especially when trying to make hard decisions while up against a deadline. Republican leadership continues to try and move forward while the President and Senate sit idly by and refuse to share an actual plan of their own." -- Rep. Tim Scott, who represents District 1 along the coast.
"Speaker John Boehner has done a remarkable job navigating this dire fiscal situation essentially by himself. This is the third plan to come out of the House of Representatives, which is three more plans than the Senate or White House have produced. And Speaker Boehner is to be commended for adding a balanced budget amendment, which is exactly the kind of systemic change our country desperately needs." -- Rep. Trey Gowdy, who represents the Greenville/Spartanburg-based District 4.