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Honorable Mark Sanford

Representing the 1st District of South Carolina

Vote Notes: H.R.2792, Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act

Oct 2, 2017
Blog Post

Allow me to circle back again to a vote that occurred last week. Before I do though, let me state the obvious, which is that my thoughts and prayers go to the individuals and families who were affected in the tragedy of Las Vegas.

I’ll have more thoughts on that, but for now, let me go back and explain why I voted “yes” on the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act. It would prohibit Social Security payments to individuals with outstanding felony warrants or parole and probation violations. Under the category of bringing more common sense to Washington, this should stand out - and accordingly, it passed by a vote of 244 to 171.

Do we not live in a crazy world when you can be a fugitive from justice - literally running from the law and hiding in some foreign country - but still receive Social Security checks?! I think a big part of the mindset that we saw in the election of November was tied to people’s frustrations with the way in which Washington doesn’t work for themselves or their families - that at times, it just doesn’t make sense. Frustration with that utter level of dysfunction is part of what people want to see changed in Washington, and in this regard, this bill should represent low-hanging fruit. Let me say it again: wanted felons shouldn’t be able to avoid prosecution for months - sometimes even years - while receiving monthly checks from the federal government. If you flip it around, you could even say that the status quo means that fugitives can use the American taxpayer to assist them in running from the law.

The bill was also important because it would actually decrease federal spending. Needless to say, that’s not something that happens often enough in Washington, and indeed, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would decrease direct spending by about $2.1 billion over the next 10 years. As a consequence, this spending reduction is being used as a “pay-for” to offset the cost of another bill that I voted for earlier last week, which helps at-risk pregnant women and young children.