Nov 17 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after meeting with President-elect Barack Obama. 

“We had a productive discussion with President-elect Obama and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with him.  I believe there will be opportunities to find common ground on the many difficult issues facing our nation.   Everyone at the meeting was committed to reducing government waste, reducing bitter partisanship, and reforming our government to make it work better for the American people.

“Where possible, the American people want us to work in a bipartisan fashion to address their problems.  I think today’s meeting was a positive step forward.”

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Nov 17 2008

Due to the limited number of tickets allocated to each office, requests to Senator Graham’s office have exceeded his allotment and Senator Graham is not able to take ticket requests at this time.  There will be a public viewing area on the National Mall for those constituents who wish to attend but were unable to obtain tickets to the inaugural ceremony.

For more information about Inauguration Day, please visit the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 06 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the news Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel has accepted the job as White House Chief of Staff.  Graham spoke by phone with Emanuel earlier today.

 

Graham said:

 

“This is a wise choice by President-elect Obama.

 

“Rahm knows Capitol Hill and has great political skills.  He can be a tough partisan but also understands the need to work together.  He is well-suited for the position of White House Chief of Staff.

 

“I worked closely with him during the presidential debate negotiations which were completed in record time.  When we hit a rough spot, he always looked for a path forward.  I consider Rahm to be a friend and colleague.  He’s tough but fair.  Honest, direct, and candid.  These qualities will serve President-elect Obama well.

 

“Rahm understands the challenges facing our nation and will, consistent with the agenda set by President-elect Obama, work to find common ground where it exists.  I look forward to working with him in his new position and will continue to do everything I can to help find a pathway forward on the difficult problems facing our nation.”

 

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Oct 08 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has been recognized as a True Blue member of the Senate for his unwavering commitment to the family.  The award was presented by FRC Action, the legislative arm of the Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family Action. 

The award honors member of the House and Senate who have exhibited extraordinary leadership and commitment to the defense of family, faith, and freedom.  The scorecard covers Senate votes during the two-year 110th Congress. Recipients of the award voted consistently for pro-life and pro-family issues.

The votes included efforts to:

  • Defend grassroots organizations rights to influence public policy
  • Provide health care for unborn children
  • Confirm Judge Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research
  • Oppose Funding for International Coercive Abortion and Sterilization Programs
  • Oppose Federal Thought Crimes Bill
  • Prevent Abortion Funding in Indian Health Services

“The Members of the 110th Congress who received this award have been consistent, stalwart allies of American families,” said FRC Action President Tony Perkins.  “These Members are to be commended for supporting public policy that values human life, protects our religious liberties, and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family.”

“I applaud these Members for defending pro-family and pro-life policies that have been under attack this past year,” said Perkins.  “Values voters should be encouraged by these Members who have shown a commitment to protecting and strengthening the family.”

To order a copy of the Vote Scorecard, visit FRC Action’s website at http://www.frcaction.org.

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Oct 07 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) responded to news that U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina today ordered 17 Chinese Muslims being held at Guantanamo Bay military prison to be released into the United States.  The detainees may be released as early as this Friday, October 10.

Graham noted in 2001 most of the Chinese Uighurs (Wee-gurs) were in Taliban terrorist camps in Afghanistan.  They have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002. 

“The court’s decision is unprecedented,” said Graham.  “I believe the judge’s decision to release these individuals into the United States sets a dangerous precedent in the War on Terror.  Our nation needs clear policies dealing with detainees who are ordered to be released.  Simply opening the courthouse door and letting them roam free on the streets of our nation is not sound policy.”

Graham, along with U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) has introduced legislation, the Enemy Combatant Detention Review Act, which addresses situations such as these. 

The legislation prohibits the release of detainees into the United States.  Detainees ordered released by federal judges would be transferred to the custody of Department of Homeland Security and be housed separately while the State Department secured release into their home country or other appropriate location in accordance with U.S. law prohibiting the return of individuals to a country where they may be mistreated.

“I understand some detainees will not be able to be repatriated to their native countries for fear of reprisal,” said Graham.  “Some nations will choose not to accept their citizens.  But the last thing our own nation needs is the unconditional release of former enemy combatants into American communities.  It is not a good situation for our citizens or the detainee who may be at risk.  Congress needs to address this problem as soon as possible.”

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Oct 05 2008

Why the Rescue Plan was Necesary

The following op-ed began appearing in South Carolina newspapers on October 5, 2008.

Congress faced an unpleasant but necessary choice of approving the financial rescue plan.  We did not have the luxury of kicking the can down the road like we’ve done with Social Security and entitlements.  We could not hope somebody braver than us would come along and have courage that we could not muster.  This was on our watch and time was of the essence.

 

The conservative Heritage Foundation said it was, “only a matter of time” before the fallout hit Main Street “with potentially devastating economic effects for typical American households.”  I agreed with their analysis but they were not saying anything people in South Carolina didn’t already know.

 

The credit crisis gripping our nation was already having a negative impact on Main Street.  I heard from the retirement communities where retirees rely on dwindling 401(k)’s and the plumber who is worried he can’t get a short-term loan to make payroll.  I heard from the restaurant owner who wants to expand and the college student and parents who were worried college loans were drying up.  And I heard from the homeowner who fears for her job and the auto dealer who is about to close because customers cannot get credit.

 

A primary motive was to act and ensure credit was available at reasonable rates and near-collapses leading to fire-sale prices like Wachovia did not spread throughout the nation.  Banks and lending institutions -- the financial engines of our economy -- are at tremendous risk.

 

For the common good, we had to find a solution to this problem before more people lost their homes, businesses shut their doors, college dreams were dashed, and additional jobs were lost.  Simply put, my support for the financial rescue plan was about helping the people I grew up with and the people I represent – not Wall Street.

 

Major Revisions in the Law

 

The bill that passed the Senate had dramatically changed since it was first introduced.

 

One common misconception is the plan will cost taxpayers $700 billion.  Over time and as the economy improves, the taxpayer will recoup money from the sale of troubled assets.

 

Warren Buffett, one of the most respected business leaders in our nation’s history, even thinks that after all is said and done taxpayers will actually make money.  Buffett said, “If we could do the deal that is available to the United States government and have its staying power, and its borrowing costs, we would make significant money. … I would love to have 1 percent of the profit or loss that results from buying these assets from troubled financial institutions.”

 

Either way, the costs to the taxpayer will be less than $700 billion and significantly less than the costs of a deep, severe, long-lasting recession.

 

A major improvement was an increase from $100,000 to $250,000 in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance on bank accounts and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revision of ‘mark to market’ accounting practices.

 

Another important change was that all funds collected will go toward retirement of our national debt – not shady groups like ACORN pushing a far left political agenda.

 

The legislation also contains important safeguards such as an oversight board to review the governments acquisition of troubled assets, limits on executive compensation packages and a prohibition on ‘golden parachutes’ for failed executives.  A ‘clawback’ provision allows the government to recover bonuses and incentive compensation paid to a senior executives based on materially inaccurate information.

 

Financial Rescue One Piece of the Puzzle

 

Unfortunately, we have many difficult days ahead as our economy tries to regain its footing.  Just last week jobless claims reached a seven year high and August factory orders fell by the largest amount in two years.  It’s a clear sign that the manufacturing sector – which is a major driver of our state’s economy – is already feeling the effects of the credit crunch.

 

This package won’t solve all of our problems, but without it the American taxpayer faces even greater exposure.

 

Where From Here?

 

I remain committed to making sure the root cause of the problem -- mortgages being given to people who never should have had them -- does not happen again.  It is obvious lending standards and procedures were compromised.

 

I support the FBI and federal agencies looking into Wall Street firms, mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and other financial institutions at the core of this disaster.  We must find out what happened and hold the appropriate people and companies responsible.

 

As we learn more about how the house of cards was constructed and eventually came tumbling down, we must put better regulations and oversight in place.  Failure to act only lays the groundwork for similar disasters in the future.

 

The financial rescue plan will prove to be the first step – not the last – in cleaning up our financial mess.

 

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Oct 03 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the financial rescue plan.  The legislation will now be sent to President Bush for his signature.

He said:

“The South Carolina House delegation spoke with one voice and represented the needs of Main Street.  If Congress had failed to act, it would have had a negative impact on every day working people and small business in our state. 

“Unity on a matter this controversial is hard to find and it’s unusual to see all six members on the same page.  I believe the overwhelming vote shows the seriousness of the problem.  We are hearing from every corner of the state about the drying up of credit and the real, negative economic impact this is having on Main Street. 

“None of us wanted to be in this situation but we are doing what South Carolinians expect of us and rising to meet the serious economic challenge facing our nation.

“The legislation is not perfect, but it does provide a workable solution to help prevent what would have been the imminent financial collapse of banks and lending institutions.  For the common good, we found a solution to this problem before more people lost their homes, businesses shut their doors, college dreams were dashed, and additional jobs were lost.   

“Our nation’s economy still faces troubled waters ahead and a full economic recovery remains a ways off.  This plan will provide tools to help navigate the economic troubles that lie ahead.”

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Oct 01 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he would vote in support of the rescue plan scheduled to come for a vote in the Senate today.

 

“We face an unpleasant but necessary choice,” said Graham.  “The crisis is real and is beginning to have a real, negative impact on Main Street America.  I am optimistic the Senate will act decisively.

 

“Over the past few days, I have heard from all corners of our state the dire consequences of congressional inaction,” said Graham.  “Businesses – both big and small -- are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain loans to meet operating expenses and fund expansions.  Some of the oldest businesses in America stand on the brink and people will lose their jobs.  Time is of the essence.  We must act.”

 

Graham noted the legislation has dramatically changed since it was first introduced.  Over time and as the economy improves, the taxpayer will recoup money and collected funds will be go toward debt retirement -- not shady groups like ACORN.

 

It now includes important safeguards such as an oversight board to review the governments acquisitions of troubled assets, limits on executive compensation packages and a prohibition on ‘golden parachutes’ for failed executives at troubled firms.  A ‘clawback’ provision -- which allows the government to recover any bonus or incentive compensation paid to a senior executive based on materially inaccurate information -- is also included.

 

The legislation increases from $100,000 to $250,000 in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance on bank accounts and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a revision of ‘mark to market’ accounting practices.  These provisions taken together will increase consumer confidence, strengthen the legislation, and help bring additional Senators on board.

 

“The rescue package now contains strong protections for the taxpayers,” said Graham. “It was crafted to ensure that any purchases or loans by the government will be backed up by hard assets.  Taxpayers also will not subsidize multi-million dollar buyouts for CEO’s and other top managers who created this problem.

 

“My primary concern has always been that with the failure of lending institutions credit would dry up,” said Graham.  “When that happens, reasonable rate loans to consumers and businesses become scarce. It takes a toll as South Carolinians increasingly find it harder to get a loan for a new car, expand a business, or attend college on student loans.

 

“Unfortunately, we have many difficult days ahead as our economy tries to regain its footing,” said Graham.  “This package will not solve all of our economic problems.  But without it, the American taxpayer will face even greater exposure.

 

“I remain committed to making sure the root cause of the problem -- mortgages being given to people who never should have had them -- does not happen again,” said Graham.  “This is the first step – not the last – in cleaning up this financial mess.  We must also put stronger regulations and oversight in place to bring transparency to the markets.  I fear our failure to act in these areas will only lay the groundwork for similar disasters in the future.”

 

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Sep 30 2008

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week urging him to ensure a fair election process.

 

The Senators noted a recent report that several attorneys in the Civil Rights Division may have been influenced by partisan political motivation when targeting fully legal political activities.  The Senators went on to express concern that at a symposium on elections, these same attorneys cited numerous examples of intimidation or suppression by Republicans, but failed to offer even one example of similar practices by Democrats.

 

“This omission is remarkable given the multiple claims of voter intimidation and vote suppression that supporters of Senator Obama and Clinton made against each other during this year’s Democratic primary,” wrote the Senators.

 

The Senators also expressed concern about the ability of the Department of Justice to adequately protect poll watchers and poll monitors from intimidation at polling places:

 

“…it is vital that the Department both ensure access to voting and that legitimate votes are not diluted by illegal votes.  Poll watchers and monitors do both; they not only watch the polls to protect against discrimination and undue influence, they help to deter and detect voter fraud and other illegal conduct.  Unfortunately, we have seen an ever increasing level of hostility and intimidation directed at these important players in the election process.”

 

Graham was joined on the letter by Senators Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), Orin Hatch (R-Utah), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma).

 

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NOTE:

View Attorney General Muskasey's response to Senator Graham here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 29 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives against the financial rescue plan.  He said:

 

“I have never been more disappointed in the Congress than I am today.  I hope every member of the House of Representatives -- Republican and Democrat -- who voted against this legislation will work in the next twenty-four hours to improve the bill.  Now is the time to put the national interest above the self interest.

 

“Speaker Pelosi’s partisan comments before the vote obviously did not help matters.  Now is not the time for extreme partisanship but time for our nation to pull together for the common good.

 

“If we do not address this issue, our nation may be headed toward a major financial collapse.  For the common good, we must find a solution to this problem.  Without the ability to borrow money to build a business, buy a home, or go to school, our country will be brought to its financial knees.

 

“Today’s actions will ripple throughout our economy.  More people will lose their homes.  Businesses may be forced to shut their doors.  Life savings and retirement accounts will take a severe hit. I fear those who voted against this legislation have put our nation’s economy at risk.

 

"Democratic and Republican leaders must find a way to bring more votes on board to this bipartisan bill.  I will continue to do my part in this effort as I realize the cost of congressional inaction will be steep.”

 

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