Two years ago, South Carolina’s GOP members of Congress demanded the federal health care law known as Obamacare be gutted in the federal budget. When Democrats refused and the GOP didn’t budge, a stalemate shut the federal government down.
Another shutdown looms at the end of the month if lawmakers do not agree on a spending plan.
Federal budget daredevils have a new target: the abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, is leading an effort to cut federal money to Planned Parenthood. The nonprofit health-care provider said it received $528 million from public sources last year, almost all for providing non-abortion services, such as mammograms and pap smears.
In a letter to House leaders, Mulvaney wrote that he and other conservatives will not vote for any federal spending plan that includes money for Planned Parenthood.
“Please know that we cannot and will not support any funding resolution – an appropriations bill, an omnibus package, a continuing resolution, or otherwise – that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams,” Mulvaney’s letter says.
Confederate flag saga ongoing
The Confederate flag may have been removed from the S.C. State House grounds, but the aftermath from its removal is far from over.
If a commission tasked with deciding how to display the banner at the Confederate Relic Room proposes flying the flag again, Democratic legislators are prepared to fight, said state Rep. James Smith, D-Richland.
That plan was floated as lawmakers debated the flag’s removal in response to the racially motivated slaying of nine African Americans at a Charleston church this summer.
But for Smith and other Democrats, flying the flag is out of the question. It was ordered “furled forever” by Gen. Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders, he said.
“A flying flag needs to be maintained and replaced. It continues to have a life,” Smith said. “I don’t understand why those who say they are for heritage don’t understand that. It is a flag of a lost cause.”
Relic Room director Allen Roberson said Friday he and museum staff are not wedded to any plan at this point and could come up with entirely different ideas for displaying the flag as they work in coming months.
State Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, says he will be happy with whatever the commission decides. Pitts fought for a compromise to replace the Confederate flag with some other memorial to fallen Civil War soldiers.
Pitts said voters may have their own ideas in store for lawmakers whose seats are all up for re-election in next year’s campaign cycle. “(Y)ou’re going to see some legislators draw primary opposition because of the flag issue both ways.”
Poll: S.C. voters says no to ‘National Nikki’
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Nikki Haley have something new in common: a lot of South Carolinians don’t want to see either Republican on the national political stage.
Sixty percent of all S.C. voters say Haley should not run for vice president if she is asked by the Republican nominee to join the GOP ticket, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released last week.
Nearly 80 percent of S.C. Republican voters feel the same way about Graham continuing to run for president, effectively telling him to “drop out,” the Public Policy firm said.
Other findings from the survey of 764 S.C. Republican primary voters only:
▪ 60 percent think President Barack Obama is a Muslim, while 12 percent say he is a Christian; he is a member of the United Church of Christ
▪ 50 percent think Obama was not born in the United States; Obama was born in Hawaii
▪ 40 percent approve of a presidential candidate speaking Spanish to Hispanic audiences, while 44 percent do not
▪ 66 percent of S.C. evangelicals like GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump
What South Carolinians say ...
Public Policy also polled 1,115 S.C. voters, regardless of their political party.
▪ 66 percent of S.C. voters support raising the minimum wage; 30 percent do not
▪ 86 percent agree the state should “invest” more in transportation infrastructure; 8 percent do not
▪ 62 percent support accepting federal money to expand Medicaid; 28 percent do not think the state should take the money, Gov. Haley’s position
▪ 77 percent think S.C. residents should be subject to a waiting period before buying a gun; 18 percent do not
▪ 45 percent say they are “more a fan of” University of South Carolina than Clemson; 27 percent prefer the Tigers over the Gamecocks
▪ 38 percent said Myrtle Beach was their favorite vacation spot; 37 percent said Charleston and 15 percent said Hilton Head.
2016 in SC
▪ Eleven 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls will attend Heritage Action’s “Take Back America” forum Friday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. The event is co-hosted by Gov. Haley, who will join in asking the candidates questions, and former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. DeMint runs Heritage America’s sister group, the Heritage Foundation.
Candidates attending are: New York business mogul Trump; retired Maryland neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida; U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida; Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin; former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.