Twenty-two Republicans senators voted against the debt-reduction package President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday, among them Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
DeMint said the debt-limit legislation will barely slow the spending that has led the federal government to accumulate $14.34 trillion in debt.
"We haven't changed direction in Washington," the Greenville Republican said. "We're just tapping the brakes as we speed toward a fiscal cliff.
"This bill doesn't cut the debt," DeMint said. "It will add about $7 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years on the backs of our children and grandchildren. This bill doesn't stop deficit spending. It locks in trillion-dollar spending deficits for years to come." Graham, a Seneca Republican, said the debt agreement could cut defense spending by as much as $600 billion over the next decade. "This is a philosophical shift for the Republican Party," Graham told MSNBC News. "I cannot imagine Ronald Reagan exposing the Defense Department to the sequestration trigger provisions and saying that defense spending is not an important part of the budget any more."
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For South Carolina, the outcome means that all seven Republicans in the state's congressional delegation opposed the debt-ceiling bill. Reps. Joe Wilson of Lexington, Tim Scott of North Charleston, Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land, Jeff Duncan of Laurens and Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg cast "no" votes Monday, breaking with most of other GOP House members. Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn of Columbia was the only lawmaker from South Carolina to vote for the legislation in the House vote.