The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed on Friday with bipartisan support, a move which was remarkable given our dysfunctional Congress.
One of the 95 Republicans who opposed the bill was Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.).
Three years before South Carolina was besieged with historic flooding in October, the Republican-dominated, conservative delegation opposed a $51 billion relief bill to help mid-Atlantic states such as New York and New Jersey rebuild in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Weeks later, though, the representative of South Carolina’s most-damaged district voted against the bill providing disaster-relief funding. And the reasons Rep. Mark Sanford gave for this open misrepresentation of his constituents? They’re pathetic and completely irrelevant.
In an email sent the evening of December 18, Sanford told his constituents that issues like “bailing out Puerto Rico, to not stopping the president’s unilateral call on refugees, to Planned Parenthood and more” were reasons he voted against the Omnibus bill earlier that day, and even though it included $300 million in needed disaster relief.
Republicans once again attempted to defund Planned Parenthood by adding that to the spending bill. And once again, a Red State voted against their own interests.
States would have been allowed to block Planned Parenthood from Medicaid programs, too. Republicans also wanted to allow employers to deny insurance coverage of any abortion, even to save the life of the mother. Democrats blocked such restrictions from the Omnibus bill, however, which went on to pass the House with a 316-113 vote and 65-33 in the Senate.
Rep Jeff Duncan voted against the omnibus bill because of his opposition to allowing Syrian refugees safe harbor here in the U.S. while fleeing from violence at the hands of ISIL.
His congressional website reads:
“Voting ‘no’ on this Omnibus spending bill was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in Congress. […] The White House is creating a national security disaster through its refugee and visa programs(.)”
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said he was disappointed the omnibus didn’t include language bolstering security protocol for Syrian refugees and curbing funding to the abortion provider Planned Parenthood, The Daily Signal reports.
“This product is disappointing, very disappointing. Everyone understood the Syrian refugee issue was so winnable,” Jordan said. “When you had a veto proof majority, and to not include it, that makes no sense.”
As for South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Reps. Joe Wilson and Tim Rice joined South Carolina’s sole Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn, in voting for the bill, according to Groopseak.
Included in the bill:
Congress voted in 2010 to create a new federal health program for police officers, firefighters, construction workers and others who worked at Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of 9/11; hundreds are suffering from cancer, respiratory illnesses and other maladies. But Congress put a five-year sunset on the program, and the reauthorization, primarily backed by Democrats and moderate Republicans from New York, turned into a bargaining chip for GOP leadership in recent weeks.
Again, 95 Republicans voted against the bill.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led a push to end a ban on federal funding of gun violence research and Democrats also pushed for a measure that would prevent individuals included on federal terrorist watch lists from purchasing weapons.
That was rejected by Republicans.