Nov 29 2007

Graham Statement on US-Chinese WTO Agreement:

“I was pleased by Ambassador Schwab’s announcement today regarding China’s decision to end illegal subsidies challenged by the United States before the WTO.  Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction and is good news for the global economy.  Ambassador Schwab is an effective United States Trade Representative who aggressively pursues fairness for American businesses. 

"While I applaud the Chinese government’s decision in this matter, much difficult work lies ahead in addressing the concerns the United States has with China ’s trade policies.  I hope today’s announcement is the beginning of movement by the Chinese on currency and intellectual property rights."

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Nov 16 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against a Democratic plan to begin troop withdrawals from Iraq.  The plan, which called for all American troops to be out of Iraq by December 15, 2008, had already passed the House of Representatives.

He made this statement:

“Some people seem intent on taking one of the most successful counter-insurgency military operations in American history – the Surge – and undercutting it by the acts of one of the most dysfunctional Congresses in American history.

“We cannot deny funding to our troops in the field and we cannot replace the judgment of our military commanders with a dysfunctional Congress being led around by the nose by groups like Code Pink and Moveon.org.  They refuse to acknowledge success.  All they see is the next election and the potential for their next TV ad.
 
“We must not send a message to our enemies that we’re prepared to let them get off the mat and back into the fight.  This was a ridiculous proposal which undercuts our national security interests.  I’m proud to have been part of the effort to defeat this ill-advised measure.”

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Nov 15 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today called on Senate Democrat leaders to pass troop and veterans funding legislation that can be signed into law.

Graham was joined at a press conference by a representative from Vets for Freedom and a group of Senators including Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Richard Burr of North Carolina.

Graham said:

“I am extremely disappointed the Democrat-controlled Congress cannot appreciate that the surge has been one the most effective military operations in American history.

“We owe it to our troops and our own national security interests to continue to support their historic efforts.  Instead, some seem intent on pulling the rug out from under their feet by failing to fund our troops while they are on the battlefield.

“The strings attached to the House bill put in jeopardy the gains we have made.  It also sends the wrong message to a diminished enemy.”

The Senate has yet to vote on the bridge funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Conference Report.

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Nov 13 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he has received a reply to his request from the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzhong, making clear that China will not ban the Bible from the Olympic Village.

“It remains unknown what the concocters of this fabrication are driving at,” wrote Ambassador Zhou in a letter to Graham.  “But they have caused some negative impacts. The Beijing Olympic Games is a major event for both China and the world.  I hope these people will stop doing harms to the mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and the people of the world.”

Media reports in Europe and the United States have suggested China was seeking to ban Bibles from the Olympic Village at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. 

“I was very pleased to receive this communication from the Chinese Ambassador making it clear there will not be a ban on Bibles at the Olympic Village,” said Graham.  “As with everything from communist China it is my position we verify, verify, verify and then trust.  I’m pleased to have this in writing and hopefully this will clear up any and all confusion on this matter.”
 
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Nov 13 2007

WASHINGTON -- South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today introduced a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment in the U.S. Senate.  If ratified, the amendment would not allow the federal government to spend more money than it collects each year.  In limited circumstances, such as during a time of war, Congress can waive the balanced budget requirement with a two-thirds majority.  The amendment also would make it more difficult for Congress to increase the burden on the taxpayer by requiring a two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes.

“A balanced budget constitutional amendment provides the best hope of regaining and maintaining fiscal sanity,” said Graham, a long-time supporter of the BBA.  “The urge to spend is powerful.  In my years in the Congress I’ve seen first-hand how both parties behave when in control of the federal purse.  Neither side seems capable of being a good, long-term steward of the taxpayer dollar.”
 
"Tax cuts have fueled our economy and led to a surge in tax revenue, but even with those cuts American's tax burden is above historic averages,” said DeMint.  “Washington isn't taxing too little, its simply spending too much. It's time to pass a balanced budget amendment to force a stop to wasteful overspending."

“Americans in their private and business lives are faced with the consequences of deficits,” said Graham.  “Congress, on the other hand, can ignore those kinds of rules.  Senator DeMint, who has been a great steward of the taxpayer dollar, understands this dynamic.  We must get the nation’s fiscal house back in order and the BBA is an institutional reform that will serve us well.”

"Every family in South Carolina knows spending more than you make is the fastest way to financial disaster,” said DeMint.  “Yet, Congress continues to increase our debt by billions each year leaving a mess for our children and grandchildren to clean up. Lindsey and I have fought for years to keep taxes and spending low, but we must enact true reform if we are ever to see real change in Washington. I encourage my colleagues to support the balanced budget amendment so we can bring some fiscal sanity back to the federal budget."

In order to become law, the amendment must be passed by two-thirds of both the House of Representative and the Senate, and then be ratified by two-thirds of the states.  A decade ago, a similar version of the BBA passed the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate by a single vote.
 
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Nov 09 2007

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today sent the following letter to newly confirmed Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The text of the letter read:  

We are pleased that the Senate voted to confirm you last night as Attorney General of the United States.  As you take office, we strongly urge you to immediately receive briefings on the CIA interrogation program and to publicly declare that the technique known as “waterboarding” is illegal.

We appreciate your acknowledgement that waterboarding is “over the line” and “repugnant.”  As we have previously noted, waterboarding, under any circumstances, represents a clear violation of U.S. law.  In 2005, the President signed into law the so-called “McCain Amendment,” a prohibition on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment as those terms are understood under the standards of the U.S. Constitution.  We expressed then our strong belief that a fair reading of this legislation outlaws waterboarding and other extreme techniques. 

Whether or not the Administration took a contrary view, it is incontestable that such techniques are outlawed by the 2006 Military Commissions Act.  Indeed, during the negotiations that led to the MCA, we were personally assured by Administration officials that waterboarding was prohibited under the new law. 

We expect that you will reach the same conclusion.  Given your recognition that the President cannot waive congressionally mandated restrictions on interrogation techniques, it is vital that you publicly declare waterboarding illegal.  By doing so, our nation can finally put this issue behind us.

We must do so.  We support a robust offensive to wage and prevail in the war on terror.  But as we confront those committed to our destruction, it is vital that we never forget that we are, first and foremost, Americans.  The laws and values that have built our nation are a source of strength, not weakness, and we will win the war on terror not in spite of devotion to our cherished values, but because we have held fast to them.   

Congratulations on your confirmation as Attorney General.  The scenarios you previously described as hypothetical are no longer so, and you now have the benefit of full access to classified programs and memoranda.  We urge you to acquaint yourself immediately with these matters and take the opportunity to make clear that waterboarding is illegal and can never be employed.  We look forward to working with you and the Department on this and other matters. 

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Nov 06 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of Judge Michael Mukasey to serve as Attorney General.  Mukasey was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 11-8.

Graham made this statement after the vote.

“I’m very pleased Judge Mukasey was reported out of committee.  He is the right person at the right time to lead the Department of Justice.
 
“All who have appeared before him as a judge speak of his independence, judicial temperament and experience.  He’s an expert on the legal issues surrounding the War on Terror and will provide leadership to a rudderless Department of Justice.

“Judge Mukasey is part of the solution, not the problem, when it comes to interpreting our obligations under the law.  I think he’s a fine man in every sense of the word and hope he receives swift confirmation by the full Senate.”

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Nov 01 2007

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement about the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey as U.S. Attorney General:

“After carefully reviewing Judge Mukasey’s answers to the questions submitted to him by Senate Judiciary Committee members, we plan to support his nomination.

“We welcome Judge Mukasey’s acknowledgement in a letter yesterday that the interrogation technique known as waterboarding is ‘over the line’ and ‘repugnant,’ and we appreciate his recognition that Congress possesses the authority to ban interrogation techniques.  Mr. Mukasey declined to comment specifically on the legality of waterboarding, deeming it a hypothetical scenario about which it would be imprudent to opine.  Once he is confirmed, however, we strongly urge that he publicly make clear that waterboarding is illegal and can never be employed.

“In fact, Administration officials have stated as much.  Waterboarding is clearly outlawed by several statutes, including both the Detainee Treatment Act and the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA).  The MCA, for example, specifically prohibits acts that inflict ‘serious and non-transitory mental harm’ that ‘need not be prolonged.’  Staging a mock execution by inducing the misperception of drowning is a clear violation of this standard.  For this reason, during the negotiations that led to the MCA, we were personally assured by Administration officials that this language, which applies to all agencies of the U.S. Government, prohibits waterboarding. We share Judge Mukasey’s revulsion at the use of waterboarding and we welcome his commitment to further review its legality once confirmed.  We expect that he will reach the same conclusion.

“We are particularly pleased that in his responses yesterday Judge Mukasey exhibited mainstream legal views on constitutional checks and balances.  He stated that the President cannot waive congressionally mandated restrictions on interrogation techniques, including those included in the ‘McCain Amendment’ and the Military Commissions Act.  This is a particularly important conclusion given that, under these laws, anyone who engages in waterboarding, on behalf of any U.S. government agency, puts himself at risk of civil liability and criminal prosecution.  

“The President has selected a consensus nominee for the important post of Attorney General.  Judge Mukasey has a reputation as a rigorous, independent thinker, and we are pleased to offer him our support.  We hope that our colleagues will join us in voting for confirmation.”

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Nov 01 2007

Congressional Record
October 31, 2007
Page: S13621

Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, as we are confronted by the deep sadness of this tragic loss, may we never lose sight of the life, vitality, and youth that was suddenly taken from us on October 27, 2007, in Ocean Isle, NC. Today and in the difficult days to come, we offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of these seven young men and women. The University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and the State of South Carolina feel the immeasurable pain of losing seven of our most precious sons and daughters, and as the family South Carolinians are, we share in your grief and offer our love and support.

Not only do we mourn the loss of sons and daughters, but we mourn the loss of future leaders and scholars, peacemakers and trailblazers, parents and friends. The world was vastly open to these young men and women. I ask others to find the courage and resolve to fulfill their suspended hopes and dreams, ensuring that futures overcome flames and aspirations prevail over ashes.

Though it is grief that connects us now, let it be the spirit of their lives that forever bonds our community. We should honor these students by taking up the load they left for us to carry and seeing their earthly aspirations through to their full fruition.

 

Oct 31 2007

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), John Warner (R-VA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today acknowledged Judge Michael Mukasey’s remarks about the legality of an interrogation technique referred to as “waterboarding” in a letter of response to the Attorney General nominee.  The letter reads as follows: 

"We welcome your acknowledgement in yesterday’s letter that the interrogation technique known as waterboarding is "over the line” and “repugnant," and we appreciate your recognition that Congress possesses the authority to ban interrogation techniques.  These are important statements, and we expect that they will inform your views as Attorney General.  We also expect that, in that role, you will not permit the use of such a practice by any agency of the United States Government. 

"You have declined to comment specifically on the legality of waterboarding, deeming it a hypothetical scenario about which it would be imprudent to opine.  Should you be confirmed, however, you will soon be required to make determinations regarding the legality of interrogation techniques that are anything but hypothetical.  Should this technique come before you for review, we urge that you take that opportunity to declare waterboarding illegal.

"Waterboarding, under any circumstances, represents a clear violation of U.S. law.  In 2005, the President signed into law a prohibition on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment as those terms are understood under the standards of the U.S. Constitution.  There was at that time a debate over the way in which the Administration was likely to interpret these prohibitions.  We stated then our strong belief that a fair reading of the "McCain Amendment" outlaws waterboarding and other extreme techniques.  It is, or should be, beyond dispute that waterboarding “shocks the conscience.”   

"It is also incontestable that waterboarding is outlawed by the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA), and it was the clear intent of Congress to prohibit the practice.  As the authors of the statute, we would note that the MCA enumerates grave breaches of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions that constitute offenses under the War Crimes Act.  Among these is an explicit prohibition on acts that inflict "serious and non-transitory mental harm,” which the MCA states (but your letter omits) “need not be prolonged."  Staging a mock execution by inducing the misperception of drowning is a clear violation of this standard.  Indeed, during the negotiations, we were personally assured by Administration officials that this language, which applies to all agencies of the U.S. Government, prohibited waterboarding. 

"We share your revulsion at the use of waterboarding and welcome your commitment to review existing legal memoranda covering interrogations and their consistency with current law.  It is vital that you do so, as anyone who engages in this practice, on behalf of any U.S. government agency, puts himself at risk of criminal prosecution, including under the War Crimes Act, and opens himself to civil liability as well. 

"We must wage and win the war on terror, but doing so is fully compatible with fidelity to our laws and deepest values.  Once you are confirmed and fully briefed on the relevant programs and legal analyses, we urge you to publicly make clear that waterboarding can never be employed. "  

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