Last night, the Senate passed legislation, which prevents the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for 99 percent of Americans. Without this legislation, there will be a dramatic increase in every American’s taxes. Additionally, without this legislation, draconian cuts to our national defense will take place. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said these cuts would be like “shooting ourselves in the head.
Finally, this legislation reverses the President’s decision to give Congress a pay raise.
While it is unfortunate the President refused to discuss spending cuts in this legislation, he will not have that luxury in the upcoming debt limit debate. The debt limit debate will be our best opportunity to get a handle on the out of control spending, which will bankrupt our nation if left unaddressed.
I have repeatedly made it clear I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we address why we are going further in debt. The time has come for the President to face up to the need to control federal spending and the growth of entitlements. If we do not change course in our spending habits, the United States will become Greece.
The August jobs report revealed today that the national unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent because another 368,000 Americans decided to stop looking for work. The labor participation rate fell to 65.3 percent, its lowest level in more than 30 years.
A drop in the unemployment rate is usually good news, but certainly not today. This report shows thousands of Americans are so discouraged by the Obama economy that they have given up on their job searches and are no longer looking for work.
Under President Obama’s economic policies the American Dream is in jeopardy. It’s clear the failed stimulus plan, Obamacare’s government takeover of healthcare, and massive increases in the national debt continue to take a toll on our economy. It will take a change in leadership to put us back on the path to a growing, vibrant economy.
During Barack Obama’s first term he’s accumulated over $5 trillion in debt and will soon accumulate more debt than all previous presidents combined. And if you think it’s bad now I hate to say it’s only going to get worse. The real Obama debt bombs have yet to be fully realized as we haven’t even begun to receive the bills for the full implementation of Obamacare.
President Obama has had four years to get the budget under control and he’s only made it worse.I stand ready to do the hard things – entitlement reform, reducing spending, and reforming our tax code – which will turn our economy and debt situation around. Where is your plan to get us out of debt Mr. President?
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced plans to offer amendments tomorrow in the Senate Appropriations Committee to protect American businesses from the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) job-killing tactics.
“The NLRB is the Grim Reaper of job creation,” said Graham. “They seem hell-bent on interjecting themselves into private sector business decisions for purely political reasons. Last year, the NLRB attempted to intervene in a legitimate business decision by Boeing to expand aircraft manufacturing into South Carolina. Their decision did great damage to job creation efforts and they seem intent on continuing this destructive behavior. On issue after issue the NLRB is destroying jobs and making the United States uncompetitive in the international marketplace.”
The Graham Amendments include:
NLRB Micro-Union: The NLRB decision in Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile 357 allows unions to gerrymander the size of a bargaining unit. Even if a majority of workers opposed the formation of a union, the NLRB decision allows unions to be formed by allowing the workforce to be subdivided into increasingly smaller groups. Micro-unions have made managing the workforce increasingly more difficult and the Graham Amendment prohibits the NLRB from using its funds to enforce this rule.
NLRB Ambush Election: This NLRB decision shortens the timeframe for a union election to as little as ten days. Over 95 percent of all union elections occur within 56 days and the current median is 38 days. By rushing an election, the NLRB is deliberately stacking the deck against employers and denying them time to adequately defend themselves against union propaganda. The Graham Amendment prohibits the NLRB from using funds on ambush elections.
NLRB Secret Ballot: In 2011, South Carolina was one of four states the NLRB threatened to sue after the state passed a law prohibiting unions from using the card-check process to unionize. Card-check is ripe for abuse and intimidation of employees who may oppose unionization and would vote against it in a secret ballot election. This amendment ensures the NLRB cannot block secret ballot elections. The House of Representatives has already passed the language in the Graham Amendment to protect secret ballot voting.
“The unprecedented actions taken by the NLRB move the agency into areas it’s never gone before. My amendments aim to protect employers and employees from the counterproductive actions taken by the NLRB and I hope they will be adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow.”
“South Carolina is leading the way toward energy independence,” said Graham, who is introducing the legislation in the United States Senate. “By authorizing offshore leasing for oil and gas exploration, South Carolina will lead a long, overdue effort to open up American-owned energy reserves. We want to break the dependence on imports from unstable areas like the Middle East and dangerous regimes like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. The more closer-to-home energy we utilize, the less we must rely on them. Additionally, this legislation will help reduce our national debt and the state of South Carolina will receive 37.5 percent of revenues generated from leasing.”
“America desperately needs an all-the-above energy plan,” said Duncan. “We all support a comprehensive approach to energy, but also understand that South Carolina shouldn’t wait on other states to be able to create jobs here at home. I commend Senator Graham for his work on the South Carolina Offshore Drilling Act and plan to introduce a version of this legislation in the U.S. House. Utilizing our abundant natural resources is a crucial step in ending our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and creating thousands of jobs right here in South Carolina. This legislation will help our state continue to lead the nation in energy innovation.”
“Two months ago, I introduced the EXPAND Act, which in addition to expanding nuclear power and other sources of energy, includes opening the entire Outer Continental Shelf for energy leases and permits. I specifically included the Southern Atlantic OCS to ensure that South Carolina gained access to its natural resources. We are committed to helping South Carolina lead the way towards energy independence for the United States, and create thousands of new energy jobs,” Duncan said.
Under the South Carolina Offshore Drilling Act:
The South Carolina Offshore Drilling Act also calls for revenue sharing from the lease sales. Under the legislation, 50 percent of the revenues will be returned to the federal government for deficit reduction, 37.5 percent will go to the State of South Carolina, and 12.5 percent will be directed to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The funding formula is consistent with current federal law governing revenue sharing from offshore drilling leases.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Energy and Water (E&W) Appropriations Act which contains $3.5 million for Charleston Harbor deepening study.
This is the most significant federal contribution made thus far to the Charleston Harbor deepening effort. Deepening Charleston Harbor is the number-one issue for South Carolina’s economy. The Port of Charleston is our economic gateway to the world and that’s why I have long believed that when it comes to deepening Charleston Harbor, failure is simply not an option.
Today, about one out of every five jobs in South Carolina is tied – directly and indirectly – to the operation of the Port. Deepening the port will allow us to keep these jobs in our state and also create more jobs in the future.
Other notable funding in the bill includes:
I appreciate the South Carolina House of Representatives’ swift passage of a resolution urging the United States Congress and the South Carolina congressional delegation to support the reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.
The reauthorization of Ex-Im will directly benefit South Carolina’s job creation efforts and manufacturing industries. It is imperative we continue to grow our ability to export goods made in South Carolina around the world. I also want to thank Speaker Bobby Harrell for spearheading this effort and the members of the legislature who supported the resolution.
Both large and small businesses in South Carolina have benefitted from Ex-Im. One of the most prominent examples is The Boeing Company which opened the 787 Dreamliner production facility in North Charleston. The facility employs more than 6,000 people in South Carolina and is responsible for thousands of associated jobs.
Jim McNerney, President and CEO of Boeing, noted in a letter that eight out of every ten Boeing 787 Dreamliners built in South Carolina are expected to be purchased by international customers who are eligible for and routinely seek export credit support from Ex-Im Bank. Without Ex-Im, many of these customers would purchase from Airbus, which is made in Europe and backed by multiple European export credit agencies.
I wish we didn’t need an Ex-Im bank. But other countries have far more aggressive financing regimes in place. The United States cannot and should not unilaterally disarm. However, it is my goal to do more than reauthorize Ex-Im. It must be reformed. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to achieve both goals of reauthorization and reform.
Last year, exports from South Carolina increased by 21 percent. We need to continue on that path, creating jobs and putting South Carolinians back to work. If Congress does not reauthorize Ex-Im, it will have a devastating impact to both our state and national economy.
The Export-Import Bank was established in 1934 and since Ex-Im was last reauthorized in 2006, the bank has returned $3.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury above and beyond the costs of its operations.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham today signed on as a cosponsor of the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act (CHCSA). The legislation would enroll all seniors into the same health care plan as Members of Congress and federal employees, the Federal Employee Health Benefit program. (FEHB) http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/
“Our goal is to save Medicare from bankruptcy and ensure seniors have affordable, high-quality health care — a crisis President Obama has only made worse during his time in office,” said Graham. “Allowing seniors access to the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program, which Members of Congress and federal employees use, will give them more choices and lower their out-of-pocket costs. It’s also good for the taxpayers because it will save the federal government $1 trillion over the next decade and reduce the unfunded liability of Medicare by $16 trillion.”
The legislation was introduced by Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Graham joined Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in unveiling the legislation at a Capitol Hill press conference today.
The Medicare reform legislation builds upon a Social Security reform bill (S. 804), The Social Security Solvency and Sustainability Act, introduced last year by Graham, Paul and Lee.
Graham noted that in 2010, federal employees could choose from among the 250 plans participating in FEHB, including 20 nationwide plans. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) enforces reasonable minimum standards for plans, ensures the health plans are fiscally sound, and enforces rules for consumer protection.
Under FEHB, there are no price controls, standardized benefits, or detailed guidelines for doctors or hospitals. All individuals within a plan pay the same premium regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions.
“To get our nation’s fiscal house in order we must address future entitlement spending,” said Graham. “Our bill gets a handle on Medicare costs, which continue to escalate, and ensures the program is sustainable for future generations.”
Click here for Sen. Rand Paul's Background Briefing Materials on the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act.