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Honorable Mark Sanford

Representing the 1st District of South Carolina

I haven’t seen it, but apparently there is a show called The Walking Dead in which zombies charge into homes in rural Georgia.

Oct 27, 2015
Blog Post

I haven’t seen it, but apparently there is a show called The Walking Dead in which zombies charge into homes in rural Georgia. In short, weird beings keep rising out of nowhere to keep coming at people, and this week is proving similarly to be a week of eerily bizarre walking dead votes coming at all of us as taxpayers...a discharge petition, debt ceiling, year-end funding, and more…

Last night and today’s installment of this show on Capitol Hill dealt with the reauthorization of the Export-Import (ExIm) Bank. Its charter had lapsed this past June 30th, and this expiration was viewed as a win by conservatives. It had been seen as a needed scalp on the wall given many people’s philosophical objection to the bank.

Problem is it wasn’t dead yet.

In fact, Ronald Reagan once observed that the closest thing to eternal life was a government program, and tonight the ExIm Bank was resurrected by 42 Republicans joining with Democrats to discharge the bill onto the House floor. I voted against these procedural motions to bring it forward.

A discharge petition is very rarely used in Washington because doing so gives the minority party control of the House floor, and, procedurally, this is viewed very negatively. If you have a majority, which gives you control of the floor…you don’t want to be in the business of giving that control away. It also goes to the heart of people’s frustration with the current Leadership in the House and Senate. Let things go through the normal channels of committees and subcommittees to be vetted and approved before getting to the floor of the chamber. Don’t surprise us (as is being done now with a budget bill we will vote on tomorrow), and don’t come up with your own plan that you think is better for us. Allow us as the people’s representatives to debate and argue about what we believe represent constituent’s thinking. These are very simple, but democratic thoughts – on which our Republic was founded.

For these reasons, I voted against each of the three procedural measures that advanced the discharge petition. These vote totals follow, and in each of these vote counts I was the failing side: 246 to 177, 271 to 158, and 275 to 154.

Once it got to the floor, however, I was compelled to vote for it because, back in the campaign when this came up, I had given my word that I would vote for it if it made its way to the floor.

I had done so because of its importance to Boeing. They have described it as life or death for them. I have been consistent in saying that I am philosophically against things like the ExIm bank. But, on this one, given Boeing’s size and scale in the Lowcountry, I believed I had to vote in a way that represented what I perceived to represent the majority will of the district. I think this is the only vote like this that I can ever remember coming up as it pits my philosophical framework against a campaign promise and my word, but such was the case tonight. Accordingly, I had to honor my word, and the bill passed by a vote of 313 to 118.