|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from South Carolina's 5th district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Ken Holland|
|Succeeded by||Mick Mulvaney|
|Chair of the House Budget Committee|
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Jim Nussle|
|Succeeded by||Paul Ryan|
|Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee|
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||John Kasich|
|Succeeded by||Paul Ryan|
John McKee Spratt Jr.
November 1, 1942
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
|Education||Davidson College (BA)|
Corpus Christi College, Oxford (MA)
Yale University (LLB)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1969–1971|
|Awards||Meritorious Service Medal|
John McKee Spratt Jr. (born November 1, 1942) is an American politician who was the U.S. representative for South Carolina's 5th congressional district from 1983 to 2011. The 5th Congressional District covers all or part of 14 counties in north-central South Carolina. The largest cities are Rock Hill and Sumter. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Spratt was the dean of the South Carolina congressional delegation, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget, and the second ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, where he served on three subcommittees: Oversight and Investigations, Strategic Forces, and Air and Land Forces. In addition to his committee work, he co-chaired the Textile Caucus, the Bearing Caucus, and the Nuclear Energy Caucus.
On November 2, 2010, he lost his seat to Republican challenger Mick Mulvaney.
Early life, education and career
Spratt was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and raised in York, South Carolina. His father founded the Bank of Fort Mill and the York law firm where he would eventually practice. His only sibling is Jane Bratton Spratt McColl, wife of Hugh McColl, former chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of America Corporation.
After graduating from York High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in history from Davidson College in 1964. He served as student body president at both schools. Spratt then earned an MA degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University (Corpus Christi College) in 1966 while studying on a Marshall Scholarship, and an LLB degree from Yale Law School in 1969.
Spratt was a captain in the Army from 1969 to 1971, serving in the Operations Analysis Group in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) at the Pentagon, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Spratt returned to York in 1971 to practice at the law firm of Spratt, McKeown, and Spratt. He was county attorney and school board attorney, and president of the Bank of Fort Mill. He also ran a small insurance agency and owned a farm in Fort Mill.
Spratt married Jane Stacy of Filbert, South Carolina. They have three daughters named Susan, Sarah, and Catherine. They also have five grandchildren named Lily, Jack, Max, Grace, and James. Spratt has long been a member of First Presbyterian Church in York, South Carolina. He has also been active in the United Way and other civic and charity organizations.
U.S. House of Representatives
For his work in Congress, Spratt won praise from Columbia's newspaper The State, which called him "one of his party's most reliable 'bridges' to the Republican side." National Journal featured him on its cover as "a stand-out" in Congress, comparing his legislative skills to the "best infielders in baseball." In a Washingtonian magazine survey, Congressional staff voted him a "Workhorse" and "House Member I'd Like to See Win the Presidency in 2008."
Spratt co-authored the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, putting the federal budget in surplus for the first time in 30 years. In 2003, Spratt engineered an amendment which shifted $30 million in the defense appropriations bill to the Airborne Laser program.
In the 111th Congress, Spratt supported legislation such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, extension of unemployment benefits, increased infrastructure and labor workforce funding, increased federal financial aid packages, increased home foreclosure and small business assistance, reduction in estate taxes for 99.8 percent of estates, clean water legislation, health insurance reform, expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, reforming of medicare payment plans, clean energy legislation, pay as you go legislation, defense authorization for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, increased VA hospital investment.
On March 21, 2010, Spratt joined a majority of his House colleagues in approving H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Senate version of the health care reform bill. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, he made the floor motion which led to the vote on the bill. "I was where the action was when the bill had to be called from the clerk's desk," he told The Herald, a Rock Hill, South Carolina newspaper. "It was like sharing a moment in history."
On March 24, 2010, Spratt was appointed to the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. In reporting on the appointment, Dow Jones Newswires called Spratt "one of the staunchest fiscal conservatives among House Democrats." One of Spratts' last acts in Congress was helping compile a 65-page report on fixing the country's financial deficit.
Spratt became active in Democratic politics at an early age, and was elected delegate to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Spratt was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982, succeeding fellow Democrat Kenneth Holland. He was reelected 13 more times. Although parts of the district were becoming friendlier to Republican candidates at the national level, the GOP was more or less nonexistent in this part of South Carolina at the local level for some time. As evidence, Spratt only faced a Republican opponent twice from 1984 to 1992, both of those times winning easily. In 1994, however, Spratt was nearly defeated by Republican Larry Bigham, only surviving by 6,300 votes. He defeated Bigham by a slightly larger margin in 1996, but from 1998 to 2008 Spratt usually won with relatively little difficulty due to his popularity and campaigning skills.
Spratt typically stayed out of presidential politics while he was a congressman because the national party was not popular in his district. For instance, he did not endorse any candidates in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries. Nonetheless, he was rumored to be President Obama's pick as White House Budget Director, instead President Obama chose Peter R. Orszag, whom Spratt had helped hire as the director of the Congressional Budget Office.
In 2010, John Spratt's re-election chances was the subject of numerous articles. He was seen as particularly vulnerable due to his ties with the Democratic party leadership, his district's double-digit unemployment rate, and the district's growing Republican base. He was defeated that year by Mick Mulvaney by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent—one of the largest margins of defeat for an incumbent in the 2010 cycle.
Mulvaney successfully weaponized Spratt's bipartisan credentials against him during the election. He lamented that Spratt was no longer fiscally conservative like he had once been in 1997 when he helped balance the nation's budget and criticized his relationship with Nancy Pelosi. The National Republican Congressional Committee called John Spratt an "amnesiac" and stated he was forgetting what was going on in Washington. Notably, President Barack Obama flew into Charlotte with Spratt on Air Force One during the campaign. Spratt was among three Democratic U.S. House chairmen who lost that year to Tea Party candidates.
Spratt was diagnosed in 2010 with Parkinson's disease. Since his departure from Congress, Spratt has served as Visiting Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Winthrop University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Spratt has 3 daughters- Susan, Sarah, and Catherine, and 5 grandchildren- Lily, Jack, Max, Grace, and James.
Committee assignments in 111th Congress
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on the Budget (Chairman)
- "Memory Hold the Door: John McKee Spratt, 1907-1973," University of South Carolina School of Law, law.sc.edu, 12 June 2008.
- Biography of Congressman John Spratt, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC Archived 2010-03-24 at the Wayback Machine
- "Spratt Finds Bridge Over Party Divide," The State, Columbia, SC, 1 April 1996.
- "Congress's Designated Hitters," National Journal, 28 January 1989, No. 4, p.174.
- "Best and Worst of Congress," Washingtonian, 01 September 2006, Vol. 41, No. 12.
- "Joint Statement of Lawrence H. Summers, Secretary of the Treasury, and Jacob J. Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Budget Results for Fiscal Year 2000," U.S. Department of the Treasury, 24 October 2000. Archived 17 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Costa, K. (2002). With Spratt amendment ...: HOUSE SHIFTS $30 MILLION FROM SPACE-BASED KINETIC INTERCEPTOR TO ABL. Inside the Air Force, 13(27), 13-15. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24789760
- "Roll Call Votes, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
- Final Vote Results For Roll Call 165 Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, 21 March 2010.
- Corey Boles, Dow Jones Newswires, in NASDAQ.com, 24 March 2010.
- All Things Considered (2010-12-03). "Spratt Says Farewell To House". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- Galderisi, Paul (2005). "Redistricting in the New Millennium" (PDF). p. 194.
- Kuhn, David Paul (2008-01-22). "Congress' only white S.C. Dem stays neutral". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- "John Spratt - Power Broker". wbtv. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- Hook, Janet (2010-08-26). "Defying an anti-incumbent mood, a veteran Democrat runs on his record". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
- "Packing Up the Past". Roll Call. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
- Seelye, Katharine Q. (2010-10-13). "After 28 Years, a Congressman on the Ropes (Published 2010)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
- "Republicans suggest Spratt losing his memory". WACH. 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
- Will U.S. Rep Spratt be helped by Obama photo op? McClatchy DC. April 4, 2010. Retrieved from https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24578920.html. (November 26, 2020).
- Taylor, Jessica (2010-03-03). "Spratt in early stages of Parkinson's disease". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
- "Winthrop University: CAS Faculty Profile - Spratt, John M. Jr". www.winthrop.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-06-25.
- Board Members, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget