Aug 02 2007

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against S. 1, the Senate Democrat’s ethics reform bill.  Graham noted the bill fails to address real ethics reform by bring openness to the earmark process.

“Unfortunately, our efforts to bring sunlight and transparency to earmark process have been greatly diluted,” said Graham.  “This legislation does not require an open and public disclosure of earmarks.  It is weak and a vast departure from our original legislation.”

 

Graham noted the House-Senate conference report contained an unusual procedure where the Majority Leader and committee chairman could certify that earmark disclosure met compliance.  This process is fraught with potential abuse. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Elected officials should be able to designate money for the states and districts,” said Graham.  “But every elected official should have to defend their actions and the merits of the program.  The public deserves to know where the funds are going.  They also deserve to know whether there is any financial self-interest on behalf of the elected official or their family.”

“There is a belief in politics that money is power,” said Graham.  “My belief is that the ultimate power an elected official can have is the trust of the people.  Congress has lost that trust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I hoped the ethics reform bill would be an opportunity to restore trust,” said Graham.  “Unfortunately, our efforts to bring about real reform were gutted.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 01 2007

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he hopes the Senate will bring forward and vote on the nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick, President Bush’s nominee to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Judge Southwick’s nomination has been held up in the Senate Judiciary Committee of which Graham is a member.

 

 

“In recent years, the confirmation process for judges has taken a turn for the worse,” said Graham.  “One thing I would like to have happen, for the good of the country, is make sure that when well-qualified people come before the Senate they are put through their paces.  We should ask about their qualifications, abilities, disposition, character, demeanor, inquire as to how they think, and what drives their thinking. 

 

 

“At the same time, we must understand our job is to confirm people who were nominated by the President.  Elections do matter,” said Graham.  “When we look at a nominee, we should put aside the politics of the last election, of the next election, and focus on the individual.”  

 

 

Graham noted Judge Southwick has been serving as a judge in Mississippi since 1995.  He’s been involved in thousands of decisions in a concurring role and authored hundreds of decisions.  In addition, he volunteered as a Lieutenant Colonel to serve in Iraq at the age of 52.  The American Bar Association unanimously considered him well-qualified and said glowing things about his temperament and disposition.  

 

 

“Judge Southwick has lived a good life in the law and from all indications, is a good person,” said Graham.  “The objections raised by Democrats are not questions of character or intellect.  This debate is about two legal cases.  My question is: Do you take these two cases where he concurred to say there is something wrong with him?   Did he do something out of the mainstream of the law?  Does it show he is not the type of person you would want to sit in judgment of your case or your family?”

 

 

“I think what we are doing to this fine nominee is incredibly unfair,” said Graham.  “There is no real evidence this man harbors animosity against one group or another, quite the contrary.  From everything that I have seen in the record, he is a very decent, scholarly man who has applied the law in an admirable fashion.  I hope Democrats will allow an up-or-down vote and I will continue to push for one.”

 

 

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Aug 01 2007

 
WASHINGTON – As a long-time supporter of the MOX program, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased the Department of Energy has begun construction of the MOX facility at Savannah River Site (SRS). 
 
 
He made this statement:
 
 
“Construction of the MOX facility is the culmination of years of hard work and a tribute to the determination of the local community to again answer the nation’s call. 
 
 
“This is great news for the Site and the nation.  It is another important step forward.  I’m pleased we are continuing to make progress on this national security project.
 
“The MOX program takes surplus weapons grade plutonium and turns it into fuel to power a nuclear reactor.  We will be taking tons of weapons grade plutonium off the market.  This is a case where the United States is literally taking nuclear swords and turning them into plowshares.
 
 
“Both the South Carolina and Georgia congressional delegations, along with Governor Sanford, should be commended for their support of this program.  We will continue pushing forward on the MOX program.  This is an important project to protect our national security for generations to come.”
 
 
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Aug 01 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the University of South Carolina will receive a $2,133,741 grant to conduct colon cancer research, and a $366,500 grant for heart and vascular disease research.

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Jul 30 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Richland County will receive a $1,939,882 grant for airport improvements at Columbia Owens Downtown Airport.

“South Carolina’s airports are a vital part of our state’s transportation infrastructure and play an integral role in our economy,” said Graham.  “These improvements will help recruit future investment and economic development.”

The funds will be used to rehabilitate a runway and to design an apron/taxiway rehabilitation project.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Jul 30 2007

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham today announced more than $950,000 in grants to fire departments and rescue squads in South Carolina.

“Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,” said Graham.  “These grants will help our local fire departments and rescue squads by providing them the means to obtain the best equipment and training available.”

Grants were awarded in the following program areas:

Operations and Safety Program: The funds may be used for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities.

Vehicle Acquisition Program: The funds may be used for the purchase of firefighting vehicles including pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats.

The grants awarded include:

Chesterfield
Chesterfield County Rescue Squad Unit 2 will receive a $96,900 Vehicle Acquisition grant.

Hartsville
Hartsville Rescue Squad will receive an $81,000 Vehicle Acquisition grant.

Ladson
Caromi Fire Department will receive a $95,000 Operations and Safety grant.

Lugoff
Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $533,760 Operations and Safety grant.

Newberry
Newberry County Rescue Squad will receive a $98,071 Operations and Safety grant.

Piedmont
Powdersville Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $35,550 Operations and Safety grant.

Williamston 
Williamston Rescue Squad will receive a $15,825 Operations and Safety grant..

The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community.  The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. 

Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction.  Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share.  The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions.   In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year.

The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Jul 30 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Rock Hill will receive $392,040 in federal funds to assess the feasibility of a downtown trolley circulator.

“This is great news for Rock Hill,” said Graham.  “The City should be commended for looking at new ways to address public transportation and downtown redevelopment.”

Graham secured the funds in the Fiscal Year 2006 Transportation-Treasury-HUD Appropriations Bill.

The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Jul 30 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Barnwell County will receive a $462,812 grant for airport improvements at Barnwell Regional Airport.  Last week, Graham announced a $1.06 million grant for the airport.

“South Carolina’s airports are a vital part of our state’s transportation infrastructure and play an integral role in our economy,” said Graham.  “These improvements will help recruit future investment and economic development.”

The funds will be used to rehabilitate a runway and apron, and for a lighting and marking project.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Jul 26 2007

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was very pleased the Senate accepted his amendment to provide $3 billion for increased border security and interior enforcement measures. The vote was 89-1.

"In the age of terrorism, regaining operational control of our nation’s borders is a national security issue of the highest order," said Graham. "There is no doubt we need better border security at our southern border including more boots on the ground, more miles of fencing, better technology which acts as a force multiplier, additional detention beds, and unmanned aerial vehicles. My amendment provides funding for these important and much-needed changes in federal policy.

"I’m pleased with the overwhelming support for my amendment," said Graham. "It’s a confidence builder in showing the American people we are serious about border security. Regaining operational control of our nation’s borders is the gateway to further reforms of our broken immigration system."

The Graham amendment ensures and requires:

  • The U.S. government to establish and demonstrate operational control over 100 percent of the international land and maritime borders between the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Provides funding to construct the 700 miles of fencing as required under the Secure Fence Act.
  • Provides funding for hiring, training, and placing on duty 23,000 Customs and Border Patrol agents.
  • Permanently ends ‘Catch and Release’ by providing the resources necessary to detain up to 45,000 aliens per day.
  • Provides funding for 300 miles of vehicle barriers at the border.
  • Provides funding for 105 ground-based radar and camera towers.
  • Provides funding for the deployment of 4 unmanned aerial vehicles at the border.
  • Provides funding to handle the deportation of absconders and visa overstays.

"The term ‘operational control’ is a military term, and I look at this effort to secure our border as a military operation," said Graham. "We are serious about border security and this again shows the commitment to do whatever is necessary to regain control of our borders."

Graham noted many of the border security protection provisions accepted today were contained in the Senate immigration bill and the Graham-Kyl-Martinez amendment which was debated last month. He also noted there remain at least half a dozen, major changes in policy our nation must address to get the problems of illegal immigration under control.

"The comprehensive approach failed but the problems posed by illegal immigration have not gone away," said Graham. "We are now addressing the major changes one piece at a time. This is a strong first step in a long journey toward reforming our broken immigration system.

"We still need a more robust electronic employee verification system (EEVS), a merit-based immigration system, assimilation programs to ensure people understand English, a method to ensure everyone is paying taxes, a temporary guest worker program for people who want to come here, make money and return to their home country, and other changes," said Graham. "This is the beginning of a longer, more drawn out effort to reform our nation’s immigration practices."

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Jul 25 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today offered an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security funding legislation appropriating $3 billion for increased border security efforts. 

 

“There are at least half a dozen major changes in policy we have to make as a nation to get the problems of illegal immigration under control,” said Graham.  “The comprehensive approach, where we made all the necessary changes in one fell swoop, failed.  Just because it failed does not mean the problems posed by illegal immigration have gone away.

 

“We’re now moving to Plan B,” said Graham.  “That will require us to address the major changes that must be made a piece at a time.  Today, we’re addressing border security, visa overstays, sanctuary cities, and other important issues.  There’s no doubt that operational control of our southern border is a national security imperative.  We must regain control of our border and this much-need emergency funding will play an important role in making that happen.”

 

Graham noted Congressman Rahm Emanuel, a leading member of the Democratic House leadership, recently said comprehensive immigration reform will have to wait at least six years until the second term of a prospective Democratic presidency.

 

“Unlike Congressman Emanuel, I do not believe we can wait years to address our nation’s pressing and urgent immigration problems,” said Graham.  “My amendment contains many of the provisions that were in the Senate immigration bill and Graham-Kyl-Martinez.  These are the provisions of immigration reform where there is broad consensus.  They should be enacted.” 

 

The Graham Amendment is cosponsored by Senators Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Mel Martinez (R-FL), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and John Sununu (R-NH).

 

The major provisions include additional funding and policy changes affecting our nation’s border security and interior enforcement efforts:

 

Border Security:

 

 

  • The U.S. government must achieve full operational control over 100 percent of the U.S.-Mexico land border.

 

  • The hiring, training and deploying of 23,000 Border Patrol agents.

 

  • 4 unmanned aerial vehicles and 105 ground-based radar and camera towers.

 

  • 300 miles of permanent vehicle barriers and 700 miles of border fencing.

 

  • 45,000 detention beds to put a permanent end to ‘Catch and Release.’

 

Interior Enforcement:

 

 

  • Requires a total of 14,500 new Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) agents through Fiscal Year 2012 – a total of approximately 30,000 CBP agents overall – as well as increased hires of new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

 

  • Addresses the issue of Sanctuary Cities by prohibiting cities from banning the obtaining of information on immigration status by their own law enforcement agencies.

 

  • Builds upon the King Amendment in the House of Representatives, which grants civil liability protection to those who report possible threats to our nation’s transportation system.

 

  • Provides additional funding for Operation Jump Start which maintains a National Guard presence along the Southern border.

 

  • Strengthens current law on criminal aliens to deny immigration benefits to aggravated felons, gang members, terrorists, sex offenders, and child abusers.  The bill also expands the Institutional Removal Program and gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the ability to detain criminal aliens for an extended period of time before they can be removed.

 

  • Gives states and local law enforcement new authorities to detain illegal aliens and transfer them into DHS custody.  It also allows state and local law enforcement authorities to use homeland security grants for 287(g) training and provides funding to cover the costs of detaining and transporting criminal aliens.

 

  • Addresses Visa Overstays by requiring DHS to detain aliens who willfully overstay their period of authorized admission for more than 60 days.

 

  • Addresses illegal reentry by increasing criminal penalties and sets mandatory minimum prison sentences for aliens who have been removed and illegally re-enter our country.

 

  • Provides for Expedited Removal by restricting the impact of outdated court injunctions that currently prevent DHS from transferring certain illegal immigrants into expedited removal and returning them to their country of origin as soon as circumstances allow.

 

  • Addresses US-Visit and Entry Inspecting by clarifying DHS’s authority to collect biometric entry and exit data at U.S. ports of entry.  It also requires DHS to provide Congress a timeline for implementing US-VISIT at all land border ports of entry.

 

  • Requires DHS to enhance Basic Pilot Program to help facilitate broader us by employers as well as improve accuracy and efficiency.

 

“What we do today in my amendment is an important step, but certainly not the only step, to get a handle on illegal immigration,” said Graham.  “As a nation, we still need a more robust electronic employee verification system (EEVS), a merit-based immigration system, assimilation programs to ensure people understand English, a method to ensure everyone is paying taxes, a temporary guest worker program for people who want to come here, make money and return to their home country, and other changes.”

 

“We are serious about border security and this again shows the commitment to do whatever is necessary to regain control of our borders,” said Graham. “The sooner we get a handle on the problems associated with illegal immigration, the better off our nation will be. 

 

“This amendment is a step in the right direction and the beginning of what I expect will be a longer, more drawn out effort to reform our nation’s immigration practices,” concluded Graham.

 

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