The U.S. House voted 332 to 94 on Thursday night to approve a two-year bipartisan budget outline to fend off another government shutdown and end the cycle of makeshift crisis budgeting that has marked the last three years. 4th District Congressman Trey Gowdy was one of four House members from South Carolina to vote against the bill. He says he understands that the measure would ease some of the effects of the scheduled automatic cuts, known as the sequester, but he could not in good conscience vote for the measure.“The reason is to provide some relief to the Department of Defense and avoid any debate over a shutdown over the next 12 months. I just thought on the margins we could have gotten a better deal.”
Along with Gowdy, SC GOP members Jeff Duncan, Mark Sanford, and Mick Mulvaney voted no. Joe Wilson and Tom Rice joined Democrat Jim Clyburn in voting for the measure.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner attacked conservative groups for lobbying against the bi-partisan bill, including the Heritage Action PAC led by former Jim DeMint, former U.S. senator from South Carolina. Gowdy says he did not think that Boehner was upset with him or the other 61 GOP House members who voted against the measure.
“In all of my dealings with John Boehner, he has told me to vote my conscience, vote my district, just don’t surprise me. What he means by that is if you tell him ahead of time; “Look, the people I represent don’t support this.”
Gowdy says Boehner is thinking ahead to the 2014 election, feeling that in order for the GOP to take over the majority in the Senate, while maintaining the House leadership, the party does not need the in-fighting.
“You’re going to have to fight against Sen. Harry Reid, you’re going to have to fight against House Democrats and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. You’re going to probably have to fight against the mainstream media, you’re going to have to fight against the fact that people are sick and tired of politics. Do you really want to fight amongst ourselves? If Boehner were on the radio with you that is what he would say.”
In the Senate Tuesday, a procedural “cloture” vote will be held which requires 60 votes to allow the Senate to bring the budget deal to the floor. Democrats are expected to push to attach an extension of federal jobless benefits to the budget agreement, hoping to keep 1.3 million Americans from losing their unemployment checks at the end of the year.
Anne Eller of WCRS Greenwood contributed to this story.