John Spratt

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John Spratt
John Spratt, official portrait, 111th Congress.jpg
Chair of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Jim Nussle
Succeeded by Paul Ryan
Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by John Kasich
Succeeded by Paul Ryan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Ken Holland
Succeeded by Mick Mulvaney
Personal details
Born John McKee Spratt Jr.
(1942-11-01) November 1, 1942 (age 76)
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jane Stacy
Education Davidson College (BA)
Corpus Christi College, Oxford (MA)
Yale University (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  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. 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. The 5th Congressional District covers all or part of 14 counties in north-central South Carolina. The largest cities are Rock Hill and Sumter. On November 2, 2010, he lost to Republican challenger Mick Mulvaney.

Early life, education and career

Spratt was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and raised in York, South Carolina, where he still resides. He is the son of John McKee Spratt, Sr. and Jane Love Bratton. His father founded the Bank of Fort Mill and the York law firm where Spratt would eventually practice. Spratt's only sibling is Jane Bratton Spratt McColl, wife of Hugh McColl, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of America Corporation who retired in 2001.[1]

After graduating from York High School, he earned a BA 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.[2]

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.

Since his departure from Congress, Spratt has served as Visiting Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Winthrop University.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments in 111th Congress

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."[4] National Journal featured him on its cover as "a stand-out" in Congress, comparing his legislative skills to the "best infielders in baseball."[5] In a Washingtonian magazine survey, Congressional staff voted him a "Workhorse" and "House Member I'd Like to See Win the Presidency in 2008."[6]

One of Spratt's proudest accomplishments was the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which he co-authored, putting the federal budget in surplus for the first time in 30 years.[7]

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.[8]

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." [9]

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."[10]

Political campaigns

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 usually won with relatively little difficulty.

In 2010, Spratt was defeated by State Senator 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.

Personal life

Spratt married Jane Stacy of Filbert, South Carolina. They have three daughters. They also have five grandchildren named Lily, Max, Jack, James, and Grace.

Spratt is a member of First Presbyterian Church in York, South Carolina. He has been active in the United Way and other civic and charity organizations.


  1. ^ "Memory Hold the Door: John McKee Spratt, 1907-1973," University of South Carolina School of Law,, 12 June 2008.
  2. ^ Biography of Congressman John Spratt, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC Archived 2010-03-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Spratt Finds Bridge Over Party Divide," The State, Columbia, SC, 1 April 1996.
  5. ^ "Congress's Designated Hitters," National Journal, 28 January 1989, No. 4, p.174.
  6. ^ "Best and Worst of Congress," Washingtonian, 01 September 2006, Vol. 41, No. 12.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ Roll Call Votes, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives.
  9. ^ Final Vote Results For Roll Call 165 Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, 21 March 2010.
  10. ^ Corey Boles, Dow Jones Newswires, in, 24 March 2010.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Kenneth Lamar Holland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Mick Mulvaney
Preceded by
John Kasich
Ranking Member of House Budget Committee
Succeeded by
Paul Ryan
Preceded by
Jim Nussle
Chair of House Budget Committee
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rosa DeLauro
House Democratic Assistant to the Leader
Succeeded by
Xavier Becerra
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