Congressman Rice expresses frustration on shutdown vote

Left to right: 7th District Congressman Tom Rice, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Senator Tim Scott
Left to right: 7th District Congressman Tom Rice, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Senator Tim Scott

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After 16 days, the US House and Senate approved legislation to end the government shutdown and allow the US Treasury to continue borrowing money through February.

How did those representing our local area vote?

Congressman Tom Rice, representing South Carolina's 7th Congressional District, was one of 144 Republican representatives in the House that voted against the measure Wednesday night. It passed with the support of 87 Republicans and all 198 Democrats in the House.

Congressman Rice released the following statement on Facebook:

"During my campaign, I made a promise to you and your family that I would not vote for a debt ceiling increase that did not address the financial problems crippling our country. Last night, the government was hours away from hitting its debt ceiling and weeks away from running out of money to pay our country's bills. Instead of addressing our financial problems, Congress put forth a bill that merely postpones another fiscal calamity. Therefore, I could not support this bill because it allows the government to run up our nation's credit card, ignore the ballooning cost of our entitlement programs, and does not make America more competitive."

On October 10, Rice spoke on the House Floor, encouraging both parties to include tax and entitlement reforms in negotiations. View it here:

Rice wasn't the only South Carolina representative in the House to vote against the measure: Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Jeff Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney, all Republicans, joined Rice with their votes against the legislation. The only South Carolina representative to vote in favor of extending the debt ceiling and ending the government shutdown was Jim Clyburn, a Democrat representing South Carolina's 6th District.

US Senator Lindsey Graham voted in favor of the bill, which would fund the government through January. On Wednesday night, he tweeted the following:

"To say we as Republicans left a lot on the table would be one of the biggest understatements in American political history."

"We could have done much, much better. Unfortunately, given where we now find ourselves, this agreement was the best Sen. McConnell could do"

"We could have done much, much better. ....By the time we got to this point, we were playing poker only holding a pair of twos."

"Today's agreement is far from great news but brings to an end - at least temporarily - a disaster."

South Carolina's newest senator, Tim Scott, was one of 18 senators who voted against the deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the federal government.

Shortly after the vote, Scott stated: "What we have learned from the past three weeks is clear - we have deep, underlying issues in how our nation budgets and spends. Ending the government shutdown is a good thing; however, raising the debt ceiling with absolutely zero offsetting reductions in spending is the poster child for the lack of fiscal foresight that is common place in Washington."

Read his full statement here:

If you would like to let your representatives know what you thought of their votes, find contact information on their official pages, linked below:

Representative Tom Rice:

Senator Lindsey Graham:

Senator Tim Scott:

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