Mar 30 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Guantanamo Bay military commission which accepted a guilty plea from Australian David Hicks. Hicks is to be sentenced to seven years in prison for providing material support to Al Qaeda. Under the plea agreement Mr. Hicks will serve his sentence in Australia. Last year, Graham played a leading role in the drafting and eventual passage into law of the Military Commissions Act (MCA), which establishes the rules and procedures to try enemy combatant terror suspects before military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He said: "I'm extremely pleased the military commission process is up and working. I believe the sentence handed down by the military judge was appropriate. "I'm grateful to our Australian allies who showed tremendous patience in ensuring Mr. Hicks would be held accountable for his crimes. The Australian government should be congratulated for allowing the process to move forward and justice to be rendered. "I hope today's proceedings will be a deterrent to any person intrigued by the idea of associating with Al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations in any shape, form, or fashion." #####

Mar 29 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement after the Senate vote on legislation to withdraw American troops from Iraq. "This bill is a national disgrace. "The legislation sets withdrawal dates which tell our enemy exactly when we're leaving and how long they have to wait us out to win in Iraq. It also spends more than $20 billion on projects completely unrelated to the military and efforts to win the War on Terror. "Timelines for withdrawal are a death blow to our chances for success in Iraq. They freeze the political and economic reconciliation among Iraqis. They are a death sentence for Iraqi moderates trying to bring peace and stability to their country. As for our troops, those who are left to serve waiting for the withdrawal day to come will be risking their lives without purpose. It is an untenable position to put them in. "Is it really a national emergency critical to winning the War on Terror for the cities hosting the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention in 2008 to receive matching $50 million grants? Is there even a remote correlation between fighting the War on Terror and $24 million slated for sugar beet growers? What about $20 million for reimbursements of insect damage in Nevada or $13 million for ewe-lamb replacement and retention? "The President is right to veto this legislation and I look forward to sustaining his veto." #####

Mar 27 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Senate amendment offered by U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) to strip the arbitrary Iraq withdrawal deadline from the emergency war supplemental. Graham is a co-sponsor of the Cochran amendment. "A date certain for withdrawal dooms any chance of winning in Iraq. It is also a vote of no-confidence in General Petraeus, his new strategy, and our troops' ability to carry out the mission. Congress should not define how long our enemy has to hang on to win. "As for our troops, those who are left to serve waiting for the withdrawal day to come will be risking their lives without purpose. It is an untenable position to put them in. "Timelines for withdrawal are a death blow to our chances of success in Iraq. They freeze the political and economic reconciliation among Iraqis. They are a death sentence for Iraqi moderates trying to bring peace and stability to their country. If we leave, under these circumstances, Baghdad will be a blood bath. "Timelines for withdrawal are a political act for the political moment. I hope Congress strips them from the legislation." ####### UPDATE: The Cochran amendment was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 48-50.

Mar 26 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the city of York will receive $1.5 million to upgrade the Fishing Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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

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Mar 26 2007

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Democratic budget resolution. The measure which lays out a spending plan for the next five years passed 52-47. "The Democrat's budget throws fiscal discipline out the window and shows the country that Democrats live up to their tax and spend stereotype," said Graham. "It increases taxes on the American taxpayer by $700 billion and contains billions in new spending. It also completely ignores the impending crises in Social Security and Medicare." Senate Democrats twice defeated efforts by Graham to provide tax relief to the American people.
  • Graham introduced an amendment today that would make permanent the current individual income tax rate structure. Current marginal tax rates are 35, 33, 28 and 25 percent; however, this rate structure will expire December 31, 2010. If allowed to expire, rates will increase to 39.6, 36, 31, and 28 percent. A recent study commissioned by the Small Business Administration found that a one percent increase in marginal tax rates cuts the life span of a small business by 32.5 percent for single filers and 44.8 percent for married filers. The amendment was defeated 52-46.
  • Earlier this week, Graham introduced a measure that would have established the Death Tax exemption at $5 million and ensure the rate will be no more than thirty-five percent, extended the lower rates contained in 2001 Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains -- a change that would help more than 200,000 taxpayers in South Carolina -- and extended educational tax deductions including deductions for tuition and student loan interest and the $250 teacher classroom expense deduction. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 51-47.
"One of my top priorities this year is for Congress to make the Bush tax cuts permanent," said Graham. "Tax relief has proven to be very beneficial to our nation's economic health. I'm disappointed Senate Democrats have chosen to protect special interests rather than protect the taxpayer and our economy. "We must keep taxes low to keep jobs at home," said Graham. "Although today was a missed opportunity, I hope Congress will soon extend the Bush tax cuts. To do otherwise would be devastating to our economy." Graham did succeed in passing a provision to help protect American manufacturing jobs from unfair trade practices. The Senate unanimously approved an amendment to provide budget authority for an additional $40 million to enforce trade agreements. The International Trade Commission, International Trade Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative would each receive an additional $10 million. ####

Mar 23 2007

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the House of Representatives passage of the supplemental wartime appropriations bill. The measure passed today establishes an arbitrary date for troop withdrawal from Iraq, includes tens of billions of dollars in non-war related earmarks intended to buy votes, and puts American troops in Iraq at risk by imposing restraints on the Commander-in-Chief and the commanders on the ground. Graham said: "The vote in the House of Representatives was a disgrace. "The House put more than $20 billion in spending -- completely unrelated to the war -- in the bill. Putting pet projects into an emergency spending bill funding our troops fighting a war is one of the low points of my time in Congress. The Democratic House also put conditions on how to operate in Iraq that will undermine our efforts to secure victory. They set deadlines for withdrawal that will empower our enemies. "In the Senate, I will do everything in my power to strike the provisions of this bill that undercut our troops' ability to win this war. Congress is not the Commander-in-Chief and should not micromanage the war. It's incredibly disappointing to see House Democrats put our troops at risk for short term political gain. The Democratic leadership in the House is like the cavalry in reverse. They're coming over the hill, but instead of helping, you know they are just going to make the problem worse. "The President is right to threaten a veto of this legislation. If this bill ever makes it to his desk, he won't have a shortage of pens available to sign a presidential veto. If necessary, I will be more than happy to bring one for him to use." ####

Mar 22 2007

WASHINGTON – Over the past two months, two wildlife habitat conservation projects in South Carolina have received more than $13 million in federal grant money. 

In January, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced $8.6 million for the Woodbury Wildlife Management Area and Hamilton Ridge Wildlife Management Area.  Today, he announced these wildlife areas will receive another $5 million in federal grants.  The funds will be used by the state to help purchase the tracts of land.  Both protected areas will be placed in the SCDNR Wildlife Management Area program and will be open to the public for traditional outdoor recreational opportunities such as birding, nature walking, hunting, and fishing. 

“One of South Carolina’s greatest treasures is the natural beauty of our surroundings,” said Graham.  “We have a responsibility to help ensure our state’s natural resources are preserved for the benefit of future generations.  I’m very pleased to see a continued commitment to protecting both of these environmentally significant tracts of land.”

The Forest Legacy Project grants include:

  • $2.5 million to purchase the Woodbury Wildlife Management Area.  The Woodbury tract, covering 25,668 acres, will protect 27.5 miles of river frontage along the Great Pee Dee River and 11.5 miles of frontage along the Little Pee Dee River in Marion County.  Graham announced $4.45 million for this project earlier this year.
  • $2.5 million to purchase the Hamilton Ridge Wildlife Management Area along the Savannah River in Hampton County.  This tract of 13,281 acres is adjacent to 12,600 acres of South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR)-owned Wildlife Management Areas known as Webb and Palachucola.  Protection of Hamilton Ridge will double the protected acreage in this block and add another 8.5 miles to the existing 5 miles of state-protected frontage on the Savannah River.  Graham announced $4.15 million for this project earlier this year.

The grants announced today were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

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Mar 21 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today introduced an amendment along with Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) to the Democratic Budget Resolution extending tax relief for the American taxpayer. The amendment was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 51-47. The Kyl-Graham amendment: * Established the Death Tax exemption at $5 million and ensures the rate will be no more than thirty-five percent. * Extended the lower rates contained in 2001 Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains. This change would help more than 200,000 taxpayers in South Carolina. * Extended educational tax deductions including deductions for tuition and student loan interest. * Permanently extended the $250 teacher classroom expense deduction. "I'm disappointed the Senate did not accept our amendment," said Graham. "One of my top priorities this year was for Congress to begin extending the Bush tax cuts. They have proven to be very beneficial to our nation's economic health." The Democratic Budget Resolution under debate in the Senate does not extend the Bush tax cuts while the Kyl-Graham amendment would have saved taxpayers $72.3 billion over the next five years. "There are going to be a lot of mysterious deaths on New Years Eve 2010 in order to enjoy the benefits of no Death Tax," quipped Graham. "People in South Carolina understand the Death Tax going from zero to a fifty-five percent overnight is a nasty blow. "There are no good reasons why small business owners and family farmers should have to buy their businesses back from the government," said Graham. "Unfortunately, if we allow the Death Tax to go back into effect at pre-2001 tax relief levels, it will devastate family farmers and small business owners once again." Under current law, the 2001 Bush tax cuts are set to expire on December 31, 2010. When they expire the marriage penalty, Death Tax, lower tax rates, lower tax rates on capital gains, and an assortment of other tax breaks will revert to the pre-2001 tax structure resulting in a $916 billion tax increase. "I hope Congress will extend the Bush tax cuts," said Graham. "The Bush tax cuts have been a central piece of the puzzle in creating a robust national economy," concluded Graham. "Allowing the tax cuts to expire will have a devastating impact on economic growth." #####

Mar 16 2007

WASHINGTON - Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., made the following statement today regarding their trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on Saturday, March 10, 2007: We were present during the Combatant Status Review Tribunal of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We viewed the proceeding on closed circuit TV in an adjoining room to where the hearing was held. We were able to view the entire procedure. The tribunal consisted of three military officers. The president of the tribunal was a judge advocate. The purpose of the proceeding was to determine if KSM is an enemy combatant under Department of Defense regulations. In addition to the tribunal members and KSM, a personal representative, who was not a lawyer, was present to administratively assist KSM. A recorder and an interpreter were also present. In the course of the proceeding, a lengthy statement was read by the personal representative on KSM's behalf detailing his leadership in planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks, personal involvement in executions, and many other terrorist activities. KSM was asked by the tribunal president if he understood his written statement and whether it was accurate. KSM replied in English that he did. In addition, the tribunal was presented with a written statement from KSM alleging mistreatment during his captivity prior to arriving at Guantanamo. This statement was made a part of the classified record of the proceeding. The panel said that the allegations will be submitted to appropriate authorities. Allegations of prisoner mistreatment must be taken seriously and properly investigated. To do otherwise would reflect poorly on our nation. The tribunal President made an inquiry as to whether the allegations of abuse affected the testimony given to the tribunal. KSM answered in English that his testimony was accurate, truthful, and voluntary. He also provided additional oral statements in English and it seemed clear that he has a good understanding of the English language. The interpreter was used only rarely. We were impressed with the professionalism and demeanor of the tribunal. KSM was given the opportunity to speak freely. He did so in a non-disruptive way and was respectful to the tribunal personnel. The true test of the CSRT process is not a case in which the detainee admits the allegations against him, it is a case in which the detainee disputes those allegations. Judicial review of the tribunals is ongoing. We will continue to review the process and will explore possible ways to improve this process through Congressional action. This case represents an important milestone in the War on Terror. It was apparent to us that KSM wanted to use the tribunal process to detail his role in 9/11 and many other terror plots and to record for history the part he has played in a war that he has unabashedly waged. It was apparent that KSM views himself as a warrior, motivated by religious teachings, and seeks his place in history. ###

Mar 15 2007

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Democratic budget resolution in the Senate Budget Committee. The budget resolution establishes spending levels for Fiscal Year 2008 and lays out budget projections for future years. "One of my top priorities this year was for Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts," said Graham. "The tax cuts have proven to be very beneficial to our nation's economic health. Instead of extending the Bush tax cuts, the Democratic proposal actually allows them to lapse creating a $900 billion tax increase on the American taxpayer." The Democratic budget resolution passed through committee by a vote of 12-11. Graham said unless changes are made to the proposal he will be forced to vote against it against on the floor of the Senate. "The Democratic budget resolution leaves much to be desired," said Graham. "The budget process is never easy and I don't expect this year to be any different. However, we seem to be charting a path that leads to higher taxes, increased spending, and does not prepare us for the looming entitlement crisis. There is no doubt we can and must do better for America's taxpayers." #####