SC delegation as useless as ever on ‘cliff’ vote


To the extent that anyone is inclined to congratulate the Congress for voting at the 13th hour to avert the “fiscal cliff,” they should carefully avoid directing any positive vibes at the SC delegation.

They were predictably petulant, recalcitrant and useless. Far be it from them to be part of anything that might be construed by anyone as getting anything done.

As you can see on this nifty interactive map provided by The New York Times, Joe Wilson and the Four Freshmen all voted “nay.” One would be tempted to pat Jim Clyburn on the back for being the grownup in the room, but the fact is that he is as wedded to his own rigid partisan attitudes as they are to theirs, so his vote was just as predictable.

But at least he voted to do something.

Here, by the way, is what Clyburn had to say about the vote last night:

Mr. Speaker, it is tempting to say it’s about time the House put aside extreme partisanship and work together on compromise to address the nation’s most pressing issues.  But in reality, it is far past time that we put aside its extreme partisanship.  Throughout the entirety of the 112th Congress, the Republican Leadership repeatedly put its own narrow political interests ahead of the public interest.


So here we are on New Year’s night, with the clock running out on the very existence of this Congress, finally considering bipartisan legislation to provide middle class tax cuts, require the wealthiest to once again pay their fair share so we can grow the economy, create jobs and protect the most vulnerable in our society.  It is indeed well past time we got about the people’s business.


Mr. Speaker, in 2011, I served on the Biden group of both Republican and Democratic Representatives and Senators who worked with the Vice President on our nation’s fiscal issues.  We made good progress in those talks until our Republican friends walked away, fearing the wrath of the Tea Party Caucus here in the House.


I also served on the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the so-called supercommittee that spent countless hours discussing these issues in detail.  It was very clear that the elements of a fair and balanced fiscal plan were achievable.  But at the end of the process, the Republican leaders refused to compromise and the supercommittee failed.


So here we are.  While this bill is not perfect, and I have serious concerns about some of the cuts it contains, it does contain the element of fairness.  This bill protects the middle class and working people with a more progressive tax code than we’ve had in a very long time.  And this bill prevents the meat axe approach of budget cuts that could do severe damage to our national defense and important domestic priorities.


Mr. Speaker, I hope that the partisanship of the 112th Congress will end this week with the end of the 112th Congress.  And I am hopeful that the 113th Congress can work together toward honorable compromises that get the people’s business done.  I urge a Yes vote.



I have not yet received any releases on the subject from the GOP members.


35 thoughts on “SC delegation as useless as ever on ‘cliff’ vote

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    The space in which things still might get done in this country — the place where elected representatives can get together and make decisions without regard to knee-jerk partisanship, where they can serve the country rather than narrow factions — is very, very small.

    How sad for South Carolina that our House delegation doesn’t even want to TRY to get into that room. They take pride in NOT being a part of any productive engagement on issues…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    @nickattheitem brings my attention to this statement from Mick Mulvaney:

    “I am extremely disappointed with the passage of H.R. 8 last night, the so-called “fiscal cliff” agreement.

    Quite simply, the agreement raises spending. Again. Indeed, its passage seems to reaffirm a disturbing truth about today’s Washington: compromises always lead to more spending, and more debt. Last night we added $330,000,000,000 to the national debt with new spending programs. At best, we have no plan for ever repaying that money; at worst, we have no intention to ever pay it back.

    “Borrowing” money without intending to ever pay it back is not debt. It is theft. It is what we have been doing for too long in Washington. And instead of turning the tide last night, we continued our lazy ride toward inevitable financial ruin.

    The President lauded the deal as a “balanced approach.” To me, a balanced approach means 1) more revenue and 2) less spending. The fact that the President, or indeed, for that matter, anyone, considers more revenue and more spending to be “balanced” – is truly frightening. If that is the “balance” the President wants, I want none of it.

    Yes, the agreement locks in the current tax rates for many Americans. It also provided a welcomed fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax, and very real improvements in the Death Tax provisions. And I understand why many of my colleagues found those provisions to be attractive. Indeed, if this bill had been just about the taxes, I may well have been able to support it. However, “trading” increased spending and deficits for lower taxes is not a plan for compromise, it is a formula for economic collapse.

    Also lost in the flurry of excitement over averting the fiscal cliff have been the literally dozens of special interest tax carve-outs for everything from wind energy to Hollywood movie production. Crony capitalism, it seems, is alive and well in Washington.

    This is wrong. It has to stop. We are spending ourselves into national decline. We had a chance last night to stop that, even if just for a bit. We failed. And by doing so, we failed the country.”


    1. Steven Davis II

      It couldn’t have been said any better. Mulvaney is speaking the truth, we don’t know how to pay it back, and it will never get paid back. Anyone who lends this country money is a fool.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Full faith and credit means the Feds promise to tax us sufficiently to repay. The gross value of this country vastly exceeds our debt. Assets exceed liabilities. We might not like the effects of repayment, but it is certainly possible.

      2. tavis micklash

        The bond markets don’t agree with you. People are still buying treasury notes even with the paltry amounts of interest they are paying.

        If the bond community really thought that there was any real chance of a US default interest rates would be much higher.

        Dont get me wrong I dont like the govt blank check on spending either but your loaning the US government $$$ is a sure thing.

  3. Steven Davis II

    Clyburn votes how Pelosi and Obama tell him to vote. If he doesn’t they’ll take his car and driver away from him. What they voted for was a bill that included $61 billion dollars in new spending. Not how you reduce a deficit, but tell that to the Obama crowd. Like the lady on WIS said the other night, “You can’t drink yourself sober.”.

    Wasn’t Clyburn hand selected to be on a committee a few years ago to come up with a balanced budget and they did exactly what was expected… nothing? How is his budget for everything with his name on it in Orangeburg doing? And you trust this guy with money? I’d trust a toilet with my money before I’d trust Clyburn. If it doesn’t benefit him or his family, he really doesn’t give a #*@$.

    The Obama voters are already whining about their paychecks being smaller. It’s fine to vote for tax increases as long as they don’t affect you. All I can do is smile, and think, “Be careful what you wish for.”.

  4. tavis micklash

    “Wasn’t Clyburn hand selected to be on a committee a few years ago to come up with a balanced budget and they did exactly what was expected… nothing? How is his budget for everything with his name on it in Orangeburg doing? And you trust this guy with money? I’d trust a toilet with my money before I’d trust Clyburn. If it doesn’t benefit him or his family, he really doesn’t give a #*@$.”

    Simpson Bowles?

    That actually had alot of good things in it. Was a very balanced approach. It included alot of entitlement spending, i.e. what is actually sinking america.

    It got promptly ignored and tabled though.

    “The Obama voters are already whining about their paychecks being smaller”

    Everybody is whining, not just Obama voters. I never agreed with the lowering of Social Security payroll tax. The system isn’t bringing in as much as it it putting out so you reduce the amount you are bringing in further? Social security needs changes (chained CPI, motion on retirement age) in the amount its putting out first before lowering contributions.

  5. bud

    Crony capitalism, it seems, is alive and well in Washington.
    -Mick Mulvaney

    Indeed. But the examples he cites (wind, Hollywood) are ones conservatives regard as “cronyism”. As a liberal I would suggest subsidies for big oil, big military contracts to companies like Halliburton and other exhorbitant spending long supported by the likes of Mick Mulvaney would be just as much or more fitting of the title “crony capitalism” as the stuff he gets his panties all in a wad over. It all depends on perspective.

  6. Michael Rodgers

    Republicans raised all taxes by failing to pass a tax bill before Jan 1. President Obama cut as many taxes as he could; he wanted to cut more. For example, President Obama fought to continue the payroll tax cut. Republicans said no.
    Our SC delegation had to choose whether to cut taxes or not, since we had already gone over the cliff. All of the Republicans in our SC House delegation said no to President Obama’s tax cuts.
    President Obama said let’s solve the tax problem now and work to solve the spending problem over the next two months. Sen. McConnell agreed wholeheartedly because the tax problem was set up to President Obama’s advantage, while the spending problem is set up to the Republican’s advantage. Sen. Graham and all the Republican senators understood this situation clearly and correctly.
    The Republicans in our SC House delegation hated the Senate bill because they wanted it to be a Grand Bargain but it wasn’t, and one major reason it wasn’t is because the Republicans won’t specify what spending cuts they want. They didn’t do the work to make the Grand Bargain happen, and then they complained about it, misunderstood the Republican strategy, and voted the wrong way.

    1. Steven Davis II

      So Obama’s plan is to reduce taxes and increase entitlements.

      If the plan is to worry about reducing spending two months from now, why did they vote in billions in new spending in this bill? Isn’t that like saying you’ll worry about paying your overwhelming personal debt after you max out the new credit card you were just approved for?

      1. Michael Rodgers

        The question is what’s the Republican’s plan to cut spending. President Obama will reduce entitlements, and he’s ready, willing, and able to deal. Tell the Republicans to specify exactly what they want. If what they want can pass the Senate, President Obama will sign it into law. Get the Republicans in the US House to pass things that Sen. Reid will have to bring up for an up or down vote in the Senate. The conservative Democrats (there are many) will go along with the Republicans, and President Obama will too.

        1. Steven Davis II

          Was Obama a department store manager before going into politics? Is this why they added billions in new spending in this passed bill? Raise prices 30% then two months later throw a 20% off sale and then tell the public that you reduced spending by 20%? Not everyone is this gullible.

          1. Michael Rodgers

            Thanks for replying to me. Here are my answers: No, he wasn’t. No, that’s not why. I’m sure that’s not relevant. Neither of us is gullible.
            Now, again, here’s my question: What is the Republican plan to cut spending and reform entitlements? I’m sincerely asking because the plan might soon — in the next two months — become law.

          2. Steven Davis II

            Michael, why just ask what the Republicans are going to cut, why not ask what the Democrats plan to cut? It’s seems to me that they might cut some of what they just increased, which as a math teacher you know is still a net increase. Will we see Obamaphones cut, will we see unemployment benefits cut below the 99 month entitlement? I doubt it. If you can’t find a paying job in two years of searching, you’re either very picky or very ignorant.

          3. Michael Rodgers

            First, you’re right: (1) we should ask both Rs and Ds and Is, (2) cuts after increases could perhaps net out as an increase or be misleading as percentages, and (3) unemployment benefits last too long.
            Second, regarding the “obamaphone,” I refer you to factcheck.

  7. Bryan Caskey

    Well, at least the tax argument is done. The “Bush Tax Cuts” no longer exist – they ended. We now have the “Obama Tax Rates”, which (I think) are now the permanent rates.

    May we now address government spending and reforming entitlements?

  8. tired old man

    I wish our petulant five would practice what they preach: Joe Wilson has been to China about a dozen times — and any objective review would question what the taxpayers gained for footing his traveling expenses.

    Is there a way to monitor congressional travel and expenses? I would like to see our five little tea partiers reduce their personal office and travel expenses by, say, 50% over the coming 12 months.

    Nothing like practicing what you preach.

  9. bud

    May we now address government spending and reforming entitlements?

    I would cut defense spending and largely leave the rest of the budget alone. This is not the time to make big, dramatic cuts to important programs that help people. And we certainly don’t need to do something like raise the Medicare age.

    1. tavis micklash

      “I would cut defense spending and largely leave the rest of the budget alone. This is not the time to make big, dramatic cuts to important programs that help people. And we certainly don’t need to do something like raise the Medicare age.”


      As a young adult (36) I’m tired of watching Washington close their eyes and hum Dixie.


      Im paying for the so called “greatest generation” which let go of the tiller and let the ship drift off course. The system cant maintain itself. I refuse to just let congress ignore the problem and put it entirely on my shoulders.

      Im not saying do drastic cuts from day 1. Chained CPI is a good start though. Phase it in slowly. Exempt current recipients from the deal. Do something to make the system work long term. Phase it in slow. It took years to get us into it but use this time we have before the reserves go out to fix it.

      I want to turn over government to my little girl’s generation better than I am going to get it.

      Please make an attempt to do that for mine.

    2. Steven Davis II

      The same defense budget that pays your son’s salary? What about social programs for people who abuse the system… like the YouTube video of the lady who had 30 “bamaphones… cause day’s free”? Would you rather have soldiers and sailors scrounging to find useable parts to do their job over federal money spent for things such as congressmen pet projects, social programs that do absolutely nothing but throw money down a toilet, etc…

      At least defense spending produces jobs for manufacturers, servicemen, and communities around bases.

    3. Bryan Caskey

      Bud, if you don’t want to discuss reforming Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, you’re irrelevant. As a percentage of total spending, military spending is down from the late 1980’s.

      In 2010, defense spending was $689B (or 20% of all spending)
      Medicare and Medicaid? They were $793B (or 23% of all spending)
      Social Security? That was $701B (or 20% of all spending)

      And the trends are what’s going to kill us. I’ll be 32 next week. At this rate, with this current path, I will have neither Social Security nor Medicare. If you want to be irrelevant, that’s fine. Just don’t expect my generation to sit back and let you ruin the systems that are currently in place.

        1. tavis micklash

          They did. Clinton did a lot to patch the current system.

          We are concerned because there isn’t a big lobby for young people out there. We see politicians falling over themselves on both side to be champions of the seniors.

          If its any consolation I’m sure my generation will screw it up too.

  10. bud

    I should have said military spending instead of defense spending since most so-called “defense” spending is really just crony capitalism. My bad.

  11. bud

    As a practical matter the GOP has a fair amount of leverage as the debt limit looms closer. The military budget is about the only thing the dems have left to use as a bargaining point. I suspect there will be some sort of deal brokered that us liberals will dislike. But that’s our pseudo democracy at work.

  12. Michael Rodgers

    Here’s the statement from Sen. McConnell that our Republicans in our SC delegation to the US House of Reps should have paid attention to:

    “We’ve taken care of the revenue side of this debate. Now it’s time to get serious about reducing Washington’s out-of-control spending,” he said. “That’s a debate the American people want. It’s the debate we’ll have next. And it’s a debate Republicans are ready for.”

  13. Mark Stewart

    What is funny is that the “no” voters doomed themselves to irrelevancy for the rest of the spring; before the new congress even begins.

    I noticed in the NYT list that a majority (the far left ones) of the Oregon delegation also voted no last night.

    Sometimes I wonder what the IQ differential is between members of the House and Senate. It cannot be all politics when these divergences are so great…

  14. Steve Gordy

    Senators can be held responsible by the voters of an entire state. Representatives (with a few exceptions) can be held responsible only by the voters of a subset of voters of the entire state. It’s a major cause why the House and Senate mindsets seem to be divergent.

  15. Brad Warthen Post author

    Yes, by design. That way, they are a better check and balance on each other. The Framers intended for the Senate’s constituency to be even more different, which is why they were originally not popularly elected. We’ve messed with that, but there is still a difference in the constituencies.

  16. Ralph Hightower

    I will how I voted for for the Second Disctrict Representative in this past November’s election.

    I did a write-in vote: “None of the Above”

    What is surprising is even though Joe Wilson was running unopposed, he got 96% of the vote; 4% were write-ins.

    Even though Joe is the senior member of SC’s House delegation, he has no leadership capability. He follows where the dominant herd mentality.

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