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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Oct 26 2007

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007 (Farm Bill).  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham voted in support of the legislation. 

Among the major features of the legislation:

  • Extends commodity programs for producers including direct payments to farmers;
  • Reauthorizes conservation, agriculture research, rural development, energy, and food assistance programs;
  • Establishes incentives for farmers to invest in the production and conversion of renewable biomass, such as cellulosic ethanol, to energy;
  • Establishes a Rural Collaborative Investment program that would bolster economic development in rural regions by providing grants to projects created by local government, business and nonprofit organizations;

Reauthorizes key programs such as the Food Stamp Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, the Fruit and Vegetable Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program, foreign food assistance programs, and rural programs such as community facility funding, broadband service, rural/waste water grants.

“Agriculture is the second largest industry in South Carolina and I know how important these programs are to our state,” said Graham.  “I am pleased the committee approved a farm bill that maintains current farm programs and includes increased funding for nutrition and specialty crops programs.  We also adopted incentives for the conversion of cellosic biomass to energy and recognize the importance of conservation and rural development in our country.”

Graham noted there are provisions in the bill that cause concern such as an optional farm program that makes payments to producers based on state crop revenue targets, and a provision that reduces payment limits over the life of the bill.

“This farm bill is not perfect and everyone on the Committee would admit that there are some things in this bill that they don’t like,” said Graham.  “However, I am proud that a compromise was found that nearly all my colleagues could agree is a good bill.” 

Graham worked to include additional grant programs that could benefit research and training being conducted in South Carolina.  These include expanding research conducted on forage-fed beef systems and a New Era Rural Technology Program that would provide grant money to community colleges for training an agriculture workforce in bio-energy, and the pulp and paper industry.  The legislation also includes a Graham-backed provision that would provide economic adjustment assistance in the amount of 4 cents per pound to textile manufacturers for the modernization of equipment and operations. 

The House version of the 2007 farm bill passed in July.  Action on the Senate floor will begin in the coming weeks.

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Oct 25 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he backed the new sanctions on Iran announced today by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.

He made this statement:

“I strongly support the Administration’s efforts to impose tough new economic sanctions on Iran.  The designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and the Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism are certainly justified and necessary. 

“I hope the sanctions announced today will help deliver the desired results when it comes to curbing Iran’s nuclear desires.  The entire free world should join in our effort and view this as an opportunity for the international community to step up to the plate.  Russia could play a key role in this endeavor if they choose to act and I believe a coordinated international campaign could provide positive results. 

“At the end of the day though, the Iranian nuclear desires must be contained.  Iran is not interested in the production of peaceful nuclear power, but the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials.  We must keep all options on the table when dealing with this dangerous Iranian regime.” 

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Oct 24 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against invoking cloture on the DREAM Act.  Sixty votes were necessary to move to consideration of the legislation and the vote in the Senate was 52-44.  He made this statement following the vote:

“First, we must show the American people we are serious about securing our nation’s borders. 

“I have twice introduced and passed legislation through the Senate providing $3 billion for improved border security.  There is no doubt we need more boots on the ground, more miles of fencing, better technology which acts as a force multiplier, additional detention beds, and unmanned aerial vehicles at the border.  I have and will continue to push for adoption of the Graham Amendment until it is signed into law by President Bush.

“Regaining operational control of our nation’s borders is a gateway to further reforms of our broken immigration system.

“I’m sympathetic to the concerns expressed today on the floor of the Senate, but I believe the legislation was poorly drafted and in need of further amending.  Additionally, Majority Leader Reid made clear that he was not going to allow any meaningful changes to the DREAM Act, a legislative process I found to be very unfair.  Without assurances border security would be addressed, I would not vote to proceed to this matter. 

“There is no reason to abandon our border security efforts at this critical moment in time.  We need to be focused on securing our borders to ensure people who come into the country do so legally.”

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Oct 24 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of confirming President Bush’s nominee, Judge Leslie Southwick, to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and criticized the cloture votes of Senators Hillary Clinton (D-New York) and Barack Obama (D-Illinois), both of whom are running to be President.
 
The 5th Circuit covers the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi .  Southwick was confirmed by a vote of 59-38.
 
“Judge Southwick was an unusually well-qualified candidate by any standard,” said Graham.  “He has the humanity, intellect, and judicial demeanor you want in someone serving on the federal bench.  I think he was one of the most qualified judicial candidates to come before the Senate.”
 
Graham noted Judge Southwick has compiled a long and distinguished record of service including service as a member of the Mississippi Court of Appeals from 1995 to December 2006 and service in Iraq as a member of the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Brigade Combat Team.
 
On a speech on the Senate floor, Graham noted Judge Southwick received the highest qualified rating from the American Bar Association and comes highly recommended from those who have worked with him.  Graham also termed the arguments used by opponents to derail the nomination of Southwick as “political garbage.”

“People who have worked with and know Judge Southwick the best have nothing but glowing things to say about him,” said Graham.  “The attacks which were manufactured against him equate to the worst in politics today.  Judge Southwick was a highly qualified nominee and I was proud to vote in support of his confirmation to the federal bench.  He will serve with honor and distinction.”
 
Graham also noted Senators Clinton and Obama, the two leading Democrats running for President both voted against cloture – the procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter and thereby overcome a filibuster -- on Judge Southwick.
 
“What will these Senators ask and expect if they get to be President and send judicial nominees to the Senate?” questioned Graham.  “They will want straight up-or-down votes on their nominees.  Will the Senate be able or should they even expect the Senate to rise above the example they set today?”
 
“Their willingness to participate in a filibuster denying cloture on Judge Southwick shows a lack of vision and leadership,” said Graham.  “Their desire to pander to the hard left has overcome their appreciation for what would happen to the judiciary, the country, and yes, even the Presidency, if every Senator followed their example.”
 
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Oct 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today visited the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center, Charleston and discussed the role the facility is playing in the outfitting of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP) for the military.

 

Graham noted that every MRAP heading to Iraq comes through SPAWAR before being transported overseas.  The vehicles are delivered to SPAWAR where engineers and technicians outfit the armored vehicle with the appropriate jamming devices and communications gear.  The MRAP vehicles have proven to be very effective at saving American lives from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and ambush attacks.

 

“Our state has made many important contributions to the war effort, but one of the most valuable is occurring daily at SPAWAR,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  “We should all be proud of them and thankful for their contributions to the war effort.”

 

Graham has long been a supporter of the MRAP vehicles and in the early days of the Iraq war went head-to-head with the Pentagon over $4.5 million in funding to pay for a prototype vehicle.  At the time, the Pentagon favored a program to ‘up-armor’ the Humvee to guard against IED and ambush attacks.  Graham prevailed and the funding was secured which allowed a South Carolina company, Force Protection of Ladson (then known as Technical Solutions), to continue working on the prototype.

 

“The funding secured in 2005 was a turning point in terms of bringing awareness to IED protection in Congress,” said Graham.  “Without direct Congressional involvement, we would be years behind in developing and deploying MRAPs.  It enabled the industry to prove the capability of their product.  Now we have multiple companies competing for contracts and commitments from the Department of Defense to purchase thousands of these life-saving vehicles.”

 

South Carolina companies were among the first to produce these important and life-saving vehicles,” said Graham.  “This is another example of how our state has been and continues to be on the tip of the spear for the United States military’s fight against terrorism.”

 

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Oct 05 2007

WASHINGTON-  Recently, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) sat down with teachers, principals, and other education leaders in South Carolina to hear their ideas on how to improve No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  The roundtable discussion took place at the University of South Carolina’s College of Education.
 
Participants in the meeting included teachers, principals, and representatives of local school districts, the South Carolina Association of Public Charter Schools, the South Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the South Carolina Parent Teacher Association, the Palmetto State Teachers Association, the South Carolina Association for Career and Technical Education, the South Carolina School Boards Association, the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, the South Carolina Council for Exceptional Children, and 2008 South Carolina Teacher of the Year Ann Marie Taylor.
 
“NCLB was a historic effort to bring about accountability to our schools and measure achievement and progress of our students,” said Graham.  “As with any major changes in federal policy, it appears some parts have worked while others have not.  I think it is important to meet with men and women who spend their lives educating children to hear their views on NCLB.”
 
Graham noted the discussion focused on four topics:
  • Improvements that can be made to Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements in order to reflect the actual proficiency of schools.

  • Highly qualified teachers requirements

  • Accommodating special needs students

  • Recognition for states like South Carolina that have some of the highest proficiency standards in the country

 
“As the Congress continues our discussions about the reauthorization of NCLB, it is important to have frank discussions about the best path forward,” said Graham.  “Accountability is one of the keys to continued progress in education, but we must ensure NCLB works for our students and meets our nation’s education goals.  Education policy is best made at the state and local level, but if reformed NCLB can be helpful.”
 
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Oct 03 2007

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today approved an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) to provide $3 billion for increased border security and interior enforcement measures.  The measure passed 95-1. 

 

 

“In the age of terrorism, regaining operational control of our nation’s borders is a national security issue of the highest order,” said Graham.  “The term ‘operational control’ is a military term, and I look at this effort to secure our border as a military operation.  We are serious about border security and this again shows the commitment to do whatever is necessary to regain control of our borders."

 

“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,” said Graham.  “My amendment provides funding for these important and much-needed changes in federal policy.”

 

Graham sponsored the amendment along with Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona).

 

"The U.S. has come a long way in its efforts to secure the border," said Kyl.  "For example, the number of Border Patrol agents has increased from approximately 4,000 to 15,000 by the end of 2007.  And, last year, Congress gave DHS an extra $1.2 billion to construct fencing and other vehicular barriers in FY2007.  But there is still so much left to do.  This amendment provides an additional $3 billion in emergency funding for FY2008 to protect the border, enhance interior enforcement, including at the workplace, and detain more illegal immigrants who have either committed crimes or who are in the process of being removed from the U.S. for immigration violations."

 

The Graham Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill and Homeland Security Appropriations bill:

 

  • Establishes operational control over the entire US border.

     

  •  

    Provides funding to construct 700 miles of fencing.

     

  •  

    Provides funding to procure Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), ground sensors, vehicle barriers.

     

  •  

    Increases the ability to detain immigrants for overstaying their visas and committing other crimes.

     

  •  

    Provides funding for states and localities that undergo training to assist the Federal government in enforcing immigration law.

     

The Graham Amendment mirrors a provision Graham introduced and passed in July as part of the Fiscal Year 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations bill by a vote of 89-1.

 

 

“I want the $3 billion to become law and this will increase the odds of that happening,” said Graham.  “Right now, there appears to be more bipartisan agreement on the Defense Appropriations bill and it stands a much better chance of being signed into law.  I have concerns Democrats in the House of Representatives will strip the $3 billion for border security from the Homeland Security bill when it goes to conference, or change the bill in ways that force a presidential veto.”

 

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