South Carolina lawmakers refused on Wednesday to agree on a compromise version of a nearly $5 billion state spending plan as Republicans angled for abortion restrictions in the state health insurance plan and Democrats decried deep cuts in spending for health and social service programs.
The 47-69 House vote left Republicans scrambling for a way to fix a spending plan that's been in the works for months and must be completed before the fiscal year ends June 30 to avoid a government shutdown. The House adjourned for the day without a second vote.
"The Democrats don't like the lessening of funding for health care agencies. We have some Republicans who are hung up on funding - actually putting money back into those optional programs - and also some concern over the language about whether the health insurance plan will pay for abortions," said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Cooper, R-Piedmont.
"It's a helluva mess," said Rep. Michael Thompson, R-Anderson.
And it has been in the works for weeks. Seeds were planted in March when a group of House Republicans rallied in an all-night session to end abortion coverage for rape and incest victims under the state health insurance plan. Taxpayer funded-abortions surged as a GOP topic this year in the midst of the federal health care overhaul debate.