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South Carolina Reps. Sanford and Duncan oppose government funding bill that passed Wednesday

May 4, 2017 GMT

WASHINGTON — Two South Carolina Republican congressmen joined 100 other GOP members Wednesday in voting against a bill to fund the government through the end of September.

U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford and Jeff Duncan opposed a $1.1 trillion spending package, otherwise known as an “omnibus,” to carry federal operations through the remainder of the fiscal year.

The bill was passed with the help of all but 15 Democrats. Sixth District U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the South Carolina delegation’s only Democrat, voted “yes.”

Sanford, of Mount Pleasant and the 1st District, offered an early hint he would oppose the bill negotiated by leaders in both parties and chambers, and came with the blessing of the White House.

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“If Republicans have the House, the Senate and the White House, (the bill) would seem to be lacking from the standpoint of conservative ideals,” Sanford told The Post and Courier.

Republican leaders defended the package, saying the real fight for these “conservative ideals” — from deficit reductions to stands on social issues, to paying for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border — will be waged in September, when Congress must pass a full-year spending package.

“I get this is a down payment to the promise that they will deliver upon in September,” Sanford said, “but some people I’ve spoken to at home are little weary of waiting on this front, especially on budgetary matters.”

Duncan went a step further, calling the bill “crap” in a Facebook post for neither funding the Trump border wall nor de-funding Planned Parenthood and other cuts to so-called sanctuary immigration cities.

“Democrats are celebrating because they got everything they wanted,” Duncan, of Laurens and the 3rd District, said in a Fox News interview. “They defeated the president in getting his priorities.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach and the 7th District, who was unable to help secure a nuclear production tax credit extension which the entire South Carolina delegation wanted, indicated earlier in the week he would still vote for the bill.

“The administration is out there right now touting it, saying that they want it, that’s a good sign,” he said of the credit.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, a Lexington Republican from the 2nd District, praised the spending bill, though he was careful to note this was a “first step” to starting what he called the critical process of rebuilding the military, securing borders and protecting families.

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, of the 4th District, also voted “yes.”

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The Senate will take up the bill as early as Thursday. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said he was heartened by the inclusion of funding for a school choice program in Washington, D.C., which many conservatives would like to see replicated in other states.

He said he was having “heartburn,” however, over the exclusion of the nuclear production tax credit extension he said was needed to keep the V.C. Summer plant near Jenkinsville on schedule for completion.

Earlier this week, South Carolina’s senior Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, railed against the bill.

“To pull the tax credits out now at a time when the projects are in jeopardy makes no sense. It’s bad government,” he said. “With the Ex-Im Bank ... I want to change that law so they can go up and running right now ... And why in the world are still funding Obamacare?

He plans to vote “no.”