Mar 24 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), who serves on the Senate Budget Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized President Obama’s proposed budget and its affect on national security.  On Friday, Graham expressed concern about the Obama budget after a Congressional Budge Office analysis of the legislation showed it creating trillion dollar yearly deficits.

“I think the first job of any federal politician, particularly the President as Commander in Chief, is to secure the nation, “said Graham.  “This is not the time to go cheap on defense. The intelligence reports we receive show a growing threat from Iran, new engagements in Afghanistan; and a mission in Iraq that is not yet complete.  There is no peace dividend to be had until there is peace. 

Graham noted that over the last 20 years the average spending on national defense, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been about 4 percent.  When the supplemental spending bills covering operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are added it goes to about 4.5 percent this year.

The Obama budget proposes a reduction in defense spending so that by 2019 our nation only spends 3 percent of GDP on defense.

“When you try to figure out where a political leader really stands -- rhetoric versus reality -- one of the documents I would look at is the budget,” said Graham.  “If you asked a politician to write a budget, it would tell you a lot about what that political leader thought about where the country was and what priorities they would pursue.  Unfortunately, in the Obama budget, I think they've taken a very reckless view of national defense.”

“The interest on the national debt in 2019 will be $806 billion,” said Graham.  “Spending on national defense will be $720 billion.  Ten years from now, under this budget, we're going to spend more on interest on our national debt than we will be on our entire Defense Department.

“I hope the American people will understand that in this guns and butter debate that we've had for a long time in this country, that this budget is really heavy on butter and short on guns,” concluded Graham.

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Mar 20 2009

WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today made this statement on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of President Obama’s budget proposal.

"The Obama Administration has embarked on a spending spree that will add tremendously to our long-term national debt. We began this presidency deep in debt and the budget course charted by the Obama Administration substantially adds to it. No amount of economic growth will be able to overcome the spending spree President Obama proposes.

"Economic and budgetary projections over a ten year period are always difficult. However, based upon the spending path we find ourselves on, it is not difficult to figure out where we will end up. The CBO report makes clear we are facing $1 trillion annual deficits as far as the eye can see. This is a staggering and unsustainable amount of debt to pass along.

"In its budget submission to Congress, the Obama Administration used optimistic economic projections. These projections were more politically than economically driven. The Obama Administration underestimated the unemployment problems our nation currently faces and overestimated how quickly the economy is likely to grow. The CBO analysis is more in line with reality.

"The American people want change but I fear President Obama’s budget proposes change our nation simply cannot afford."

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Mar 18 2009

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today held a press conference to discuss South Carolina’s portion of the economic stimulus funds and a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service on the authority of the state legislature to request such funds.

Click here for a copy of the CRS report.

Click here for a copy of Senator Graham's letter to the OMB Director.

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Mar 16 2009

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement in response to AIG paying bonuses to employees in its Financial Products (AIGFP) division. AIGFP was responsible for billions of dollars in losses involving credit default swaps and other derivatives.

 

“Like most Americans I am very upset these AIG employees are in line for multi-million dollar bonuses when the company has received almost $200 billion dollars in bailout money and the federal government now owns 80 percent of the company.

 

"This is a classic example of a company not understanding the public outcry against their way of doing business.

 

“We should do everything we can to protect taxpayer dollars – and start by looking at the possibility of undoing these bonuses which clearly have not been earned and are certainly not deserved."

 

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Mar 12 2009

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona) today made the following statement on the nomination of Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill:

"We have real concerns with the President’s decision to nominate Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill as the next U.S. Ambassador to Iraq," said Senators Graham and McCain. "While Mr. Hill is a talented diplomat who has served our country for many years, his selection for this post concerns us.

"The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is the world’s largest, and our next ambassador will take the helm at a particularly critical time in our efforts in Iraq," Graham and McCain continued. "The next ambassador should have experience in the Middle East and in working closely with the U.S. military in counterinsurgency or counterterrorism operations. Mr. Hill has neither. Given these considerations, together with the controversial legacy Mr. Hill left in his North Korea diplomacy, we believe that the President should reconsider this nomination."

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Mar 09 2009

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement opposing President Obama’s Executive Order allowing federal funding of stem cell research.

 

Graham said:

 

“I understand and appreciate the seriousness of the embryonic stem cell debate and how people of good will and motives may disagree.  But I do not believe it is acceptable to use taxpayer dollars to condone the destruction of viable human embryos, the early stage of all human life, for research purposes.  I have serious reservations about the decision made by President Obama today.  There are other promising alternatives available which involve adult stem cells and the ability to transform them so they have the properties of embryonic cells.  I support those research efforts.”

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Feb 27 2009

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on President Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan.

 

Graham said:

 

“The implementation of the withdrawal plan announced by the President and supported by our combat commanders still has risk associated with it but overall seems sound.  The ability to slow down troop withdrawals, if necessary, and leaving a strong contingent force of trainers and terrorist fighters will help ensure continued stability in Iraq. 

 

“While the war in Iraq has not yet ended, all Americans should celebrate our ability to withdraw troops from Iraq with honor and after having achieved our objectives.  Every American should enthusiastically greet the last combat soldier with a hearty well done and deep appreciation for having been successful. 

 

“The President’s announcement was made possible only because of the change in strategy, called the surge, which was highly unpopular and received virtually no Democratic support. The need for the surge was based on the realization that the old strategy was failing and that we could not afford to lose in Iraq.  To have done so would have empowered al Qaeda, led to a more influential Iran, and made it virtually impossible to convince moderate Muslims to side with us in the War on Terror.  Now we are on the verge of realizing the significant benefits of success – a stable, functioning government in Iraq where the people rejected al Qaeda, and are embracing representative government.  These events are long overdue changes in the heart of the Middle East.  The new Iraq will buffer Iranian ambitions and, over time, become an important ally in the greater War on Terror.

 

“The country should be ever mindful that mistakes will be made in all wars but there is no substitute for resolve. I am proud of the resolve the troops and their civilian counterparts continue to show in Iraq. I’m equally proud of the Iraqi people as they have rejected terrorism and continue to fight bravely for their own freedom.

 

“Much still lies ahead in Iraq regarding political reconciliation, providing better governance, and strengthening the Iraqi army and police forces. The residual U.S. force will be necessary to continue to assist in these areas. 

 

“However, let there be no doubt that the American military and their civilian counterparts and coalition forces are coming home having delivered a decisive blow against al Qaeda and with the knowledge that the new Iraq, based on democratic, representative government, has changed the politics of the Middle East and has made the world a more secure and hopeful place.”

 

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Feb 24 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on President Obama’s address to the nation.

“President Obama is right when he says he has inherited very difficult challenges – two wars and an ailing economy.  I will do all I can to help him secure the peace and bring about economic recovery.

“I know there will be times when we disagree, like we did on the stimulus package.  I thought it was too big and unfocused.  It created more government than it did jobs.

“I hope we can find common ground on housing and helping our banks survive without throwing good money after bad.  I will do everything I can to meet the President in the middle and I hope he will respond in kind.”

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Feb 13 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made these statements on the stimulus package the Senate will vote on later today. 

“The stimulus package creates more government than jobs. The original goal was to work together to create jobs and stimulate our economy.  It’s clear we have failed miserably in that endeavor.”

Lack of Bipartisanship:

“There was never a real effort to find common ground.  We’re spending $1.1 trillion over the next ten years and we never had a thoughtful discussion to figure out how we could come together on something with bipartisan support.  The idea that this is bipartisanship does not meet any realistic test of bipartisanship.

Lack of Job Creation Provisions:

“About seventy percent of the jobs in our nation are created by small business.  If our goal was to crate jobs and stimulate the economy, one of the tests should be how much did we do for small business?  Not much.  Less than $3 billion in the entire package is directed to small business.  It’s one of the areas of the bill where the focus missed the target by a country mile. 

Untimely Spending to Create Jobs and Stimulate the Economy:

“There are so many things in the package completely unrelated to creating a job in the next 18 months.  Only 11 percent of the appropriated spending will be spent in the first year.  In fact, over half of the money will not be spent until two years from now.  We waste money in this bill that could have gone to shoring up the financial sector and fixing our housing problems.”

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Feb 04 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said an alternative proposal he has worked on with Senate colleagues would do more to stimulate the economy than the more than $1 trillion legislation proposed by Senate Democrats. 

“The American people are rightfully upset with the stimulus package that passed the House of Representatives,” said Graham.  “The bill in the Senate is almost as bad.  The current plan spends too much and contains too little stimulus to help the economy.

“The alternative proposal I support spends less but does more,” said Graham.  “It’s a mixture of tax cuts, incentives for the purchase of a home, funding for shovel-ready infrastructure improvements, relief for homeowners facing foreclosure, and assistance to those who have lost their jobs.  We address the root cause of our current problems – the crisis in the housing market – by supporting home buyers and incentivizing mortgage loan modification.”

The major provisions of the legislation backed by Graham include:

Tax Provisions:

  • Eliminating half of the employee share of payroll taxes (3.1%) for 1 year
  • Lowering the 15 percent tax bracket to 10 percent and the 10 percent bracket to 5 percent.
  • Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent for 1 year

Assisting Americans in Need:

  • Extension of unemployment benefits and food stamps through the end of 2009
  • Making unemployment benefits tax free through the end of 2009
  • Training and employment services for dislocated workers

Fix the Housing Crisis:

  • A $15,000 tax credit for the purchase of a home.
  • Loan modification incentives to keep people in their homes.

Investing in Infrastructure:

  • $45 billion in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to rebuild our nation.
  • $17 billion to improve and modernize barracks, facilities, and equipment for our troops in uniform.

Graham also noted the inclusion of a ‘spending trigger’ which would prevent any leftover funds from being spent when we achieve two consecutive quarters of positive GDP growth. 

“I am ready and willing to work with my colleagues on a stimulus plan which helps grow our economy,” said Graham.  “Thus far there have been limited bipartisan efforts to find areas of agreement.  The House bill passed with no Republican support and eleven Democrats voted against it.  This is not the bipartisanship I had hope for or been promised to the American people. 

“I stand ready to work with President Obama and my colleagues to create an economic stimulus package that is economically sound, timely and jump starts the economy,” said Graham.  “The plan currently under debate in the Senate does not accomplish any of these objectives.”

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