May 25 2007

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint along with U.S. Representatives Bob Inglis, Gresham Barrett, and Joe Wilson today announced the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plans to open two new community-based clinics in Aiken and Spartanburg.

The clinics were among 38 approved in 22 states by VA Secretary James Nicholson.

"I’m very pleased with the decision by Secretary Nicholson and the VA to open two new clinics in South Carolina," said Graham. "Our state has a long and proud tradition of military service. We also have a large number of veterans who depend on the VA for their health care. The Bush Administration listened to the congressional delegation’s request for additional VA health care capacity and they responded. I appreciate their concern, understanding, and appreciation for the well-being of those who have served our nation."

"Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed so much for our freedom and we must continue to honor them by ensuring they have the quality care they deserve. I'm pleased with the decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs to open these important clinics to serve South Carolina's veterans," said Senator DeMint.

"The Spartanburg clinic will be a great service to the veterans in the Fourth District, and we appreciate the Veterans Administration responding to the need here," said Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC).

"As a fellow armed forces Veteran, I am aware and thankful of the great sacrifices our military men and women make ensuring the safety of our country and protecting the health of democracy," said Congressman Gresham Barrett. "Funding for these two clinics comes as good news to the Aiken and Spartanburg communities.  Veterans in the area will now have access to facilities close to home that will give them the support services and quality of care they deserve and have earned."

"This clinic will enhance the quality of life of South Carolina veterans, addressing their healthcare needs and expanding accessibility to available services. I am pleased the VA has chosen Aiken in the Second Congressional District as the site for this new facility," said Wilson.

 

The new facilities, called community-based outpatient clinics, or CBOCs, will become operational in 2007 and 2008. Local VA officials will keep communities and their veterans informed of milestones in the creation of the new CBOCs.

Aiken

The Aiken CBOC is projected to open nine months after receipt of approval. Its parent VA Medical Center (VAMC) will be the Augusta VA Medical Center.

Services will include comprehensive primary care, health promotion, maintenance, routine/urgent care procedures and education. Mental Health Services will include a wide range of outpatient mental health services to include medication management, substance abuse treatment/counseling, individual and group counseling, and assessment/evaluation and/or therapy.

Routine specialty care consults will normally be referred to the parent facility or to the local community on a fee for service arrangement. Basic x-rays will be delivered to the parent station and invasive radiology or more complex diagnostic imaging procedures will be referred to the Parent VAMC. Emergent care will be obtained at the nearest hospital. Laboratory services will be provided by the parent station or a contract provider. Parent VAMC, through the CMOP, will provide all routine medications.

It is anticipated that 4617existing patients and 469 new patients will be treated at the CBOC.

Spartanburg

The Spartanburg CBOC is projected to open six to nine months after receipt of approval. Its parent VAMC will be the Columbia VA Medical Center.

Services will include comprehensive primary care, health promotion, maintenance, routine/urgent care procedures and education. TeleMentalHealth services will be instituted initially, utilizing the planned Mental Health staff at Spartanburg.

Routine specialty care consults will normally be referred to the parent facility. Basic x-rays will be delivered to the parent station and invasive radiology or more complex diagnostic imaging procedures will be referred to the Columbia VAMC. Emergent care will be obtained at the nearest hospital. Laboratory services will be provided by the parent station. Columbia VAMC, through the CMOP, will provide all routine medications.

It is anticipated that 3068 existing patients and 756 new patients will be treated at the CBOC.

With 153 hospitals and more than 700 community-based clinics, VA operates the largest integrated health care system in the country. VA’s health care budget of more than $34 billion this year will provide health care to about 5.5 million people during nearly 800,000 hospitalizations and 60 million outpatient visits.

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May 25 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on the Iraq supplemental funding bill.  The bill was passed by the Congress last night, and President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law today.

Graham said:

“Our nation cannot afford to lose the war in Iraq.

“Like many Americans, I was embarrassed and disappointed it took Congress so long to provide our military with the funding they need.  American troops expect and deserve our full support.

“Last night, I voted in support of the supplemental funding request for our troops.  After weeks of delay, we finally got a bill that provides funding without instituting deadlines and timelines undercutting the war effort.  Timelines for withdrawal would have brought the political and economic reconciliation among Iraqis to a screeching halt.  It would have been a death sentence for moderate Iraqis trying to bring stability to their country.  As for our American troops, those who would have been left to serve while waiting for the withdrawal day, it would have been asking them to risk their lives without purpose.

“Unfortunately, there are spending items in the bill unrelated to the military effort.  Congress should not take legitimate needs like military spending and add unrelated items.

“As part of the War on Terror, Iraq is a test of wills – our will to succeed versus our enemy’s will to drive us out.  It’s in our national interest to stand by peaceful Iraqis and against the extremists who not only want to destroy Iraq, but our own way of life.”

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May 24 2007

Greenville News Editorial Page Editor Beth Padgett "....on its face, the plan does what we on the editorial page -- and many people who desperately want this issued solved -- have demanded. It proposes ways to secure our borders, crack down on employers who hire illegals, make it tougher to hire illegals. And, yes, it proposes a common-sense way to give legal status to most of those here illegally."

Orangeburg Times & Democrat Editorial 'Immigration Compromise is Realism' "And extreme is what both sides advocate. The reality of deporting 12 million Mexicans is about as realistic a solution as simply opening the borders. Call it an amnesty program or not, there must be some kind of provision for allowing those in the country illegally to move toward citizenship. As impractical as trying to find and deport them is, it also would be devastating to the American economy. ... Continuing to oppose all efforts at compromise on immigration only makes it longer before there is agreement on how to secure our borders to stop the wave of immigrants from Mexico. Border security is as essential to dealing with the immigration crisis as is an answer to what to do about the illegals in the country now."

Conservative Columnist Bob Novak, 'Immigration Trap for GOP Candidates' "Why are the [Republican] party faithful throughout the country so incensed by immigration? When I asked [Lindsey] Graham, he quoted from a federal government report on the new arrivals to this country, "largely unskilled laborers" and heavily illiterate: "The new immigration has provoked a widespread feeling of apprehension as to its effect on the economic and social welfare of the country." The report, by the U.S. Immigration Commission, was dated 1911. When Graham returned to Washington Monday as the immigration debate began, he read the 96-year-old quote into the Senate record to demonstrate that fear of foreigners is not new for Americans. This nation of immigrants has greeted successive waves of newcomers with apprehension stoked by demagogues. It has overcome such past xenophobic impulses. But that will be more difficult in an era of Internet bloggers and radio talkers......"

Wall Street Journal Editorial on 'Immigration and Welfare' "One place to start is a myth that has become a key talking point among restrictionists on the right -- to wit, that immigrants come to the U.S. for a life of ease on the public dole. Leading this charge is the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector....Mr. Rector and Heritage have done some good social science research in the past, but this time they have the story backward: In most cases immigrants will pay at least as much in lifetime federal taxes as they receive in benefits. One basic flaw in the Heritage analysis is that, as a study by the Immigration Policy Center points out: "The vast majority of immigrants are not eligible to receive any of these [welfare] benefits for many years after their arrival in the United States. . . . Legal permanent residents cannot receive SSI [Supplemental Security Income], which is available only to U.S. citizens, and are not eligible for means-tested public benefits until 5 years after receiving their green cards."

Conservative Columnist David Brooks of the New York Times "The United States is the Harvard of the world. Millions long to get in. Yet has this country set up an admissions system that encourages hard work, responsibility and competition? No. Under our current immigration system, most people get into the U.S. through criminality, nepotism or luck. The current system does almost nothing to encourage good behavior or maximize the nation's supply of human capital. Which is why the immigration deal reached in the Senate last week is, on balance, a good thing. It creates a new set of incentives for immigrants and potential immigrants. It encourages good behavior, in the manner of a demanding (though overly harsh) admissions officer. It rewards the bourgeois virtues that have always been at the heart of this nation's immigrant success, and goes some way to assure that the people who possess these virtues can become U.S. citizens."

 

 

May 23 2007

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today introduced an amendment to the Senate immigration bill which institutes mandatory minimum prison sentences for illegal immigrants who cross our nations' borders.

 

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that between 20 and 30 percent of all of the illegal immigrants physically removed from the United States try to return. In 2004, 169,000 illegal immigrants were removed and nearly 65,000 returned. In 2006, there were 195,000 removals and 37,000 returns.

"One of the biggest flaws in our current immigration system is that repeated, illegal border crossings are not considered criminal events," said Graham. "The Graham amendment requires mandatory jail time for those who continue to violate our border. This is a major, long overdue and much-needed change in our immigration policies."

Illegal aliens deported from the United States who return will face stiff penalties.

  • The first reentry offense is a mandatory minimum of 60 days to a maximum of 1 year in jail before again being deported.

     

  • The second offense is a minimum of 60 days to a maximum of 2 years in jail before again being deported.

     

  • For the third and subsequent offenses, the illegal alien would serve at least 2 years to a maximum of 10 years in prison before being deported again.

"The amendment will allow our Border Patrol agents and courts to forcefully deal with illegal reentry," said Graham. "After 9-11, we must show the world we are serious and have the national will to impose prison sentences on those who illegally enter our country."

Graham noted the amendment contains even stiffer penalties for illegal aliens who have committed serious crimes, served their time, been deported, and then reentered the United States.

  • An illegal alien who has spent 5 years in prison or an illegal alien with 3 or more felonies would serve a minimum of 4 years to a maximum of 20 for illegal reentry.

     

  • An illegal alien convicted of a violent crime such as murder, rape, or terrorism would serve a minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 20 years for illegal reentry.

"There have been thousands of illegal immigrants prosecuted for serious crimes, served their time in jail, been deported and then illegally returned," said Graham. "We are serious about the violations of our immigration laws and this amendment helps makes clear protection of the border is the first order of business in immigration reform."

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May 22 2007

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $4.2 million in grants to eleven Upward Bound programs in South Carolina.

Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families; high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelors degree; and low-income, first-generation military veterans who are preparing to enter postsecondary education.  The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rates at which participants enroll in and graduate from college.

The Upward Bound programs receiving federal grants are:

Benedict College: $435,076
Claflin University: $578,918
College of Charleston: $420,564
Greenville Technical College: $250,000
Horry-Georgetown Technical College: $278,079
Midlands Technical College: $296,334
Piedmont Technical College: Two grants- $220,000 and $287,881
Technical College of the Lowcountry: $372,439
Tri-County Technical College: $387,591
Voorhees College: $329,856
Williamsburg Technical College: $372,170

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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May 22 2007

Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard "In 2006, with Republicans in control of the Senate, an immigration bill that was anathema to most Republicans passed the Senate by a filibuster-proof margin. Now, oddly enough, with Democrats in charge, the Senate is likely to approve an immigration bill -- call it Kyl-Kennedy -- that from a Republican perspective represents a major improvement over the earlier bill in almost every conceivable way."

Fox News Channel Bill O'Reilly on the Compromise Legislation "The bottom line here is that if the bill doesn't pass, another ten million illegal aliens are going to come here in the next five years anyway. So the chaos we have now will double. The new immigration bill is unfair to those who've obeyed the rules. It is dangerous if not tightly controlled. And it is definitely amnesty. But if the bill does not pass, things will get even worse in America."

New York Times Opposes the Immigration Compromise "It is the nation's duty to welcome immigrants, to treat them decently and give them the opportunity to assimilate. But if it does so according to the outlines of the deal being debated this week, the change will come at too high a price: The radical repudiation of generations of immigration policy, the weakening of families and the creation of a system of modern peonage within our borders."

Michael Barone in National Review "In his negotiations with Kennedy, Kyl has secured many provisions that make this bill more stringent than the one that passed the Senate last May by a vote of 62 to 36. That's a significant accomplishment. Changing U.S. public policy is like steering a giant ship — it's impossible to sharply reverse course, but you can change the direction in a way that will make a significant difference over time."

Conservative Talk Radio Show Host Michael Medved "Do we want to encourage illegals to try to rectify their status - to come out of the shadows, play by the rules, pay all taxes due, learn English, and assimilate into our society? Or do we only want them to disappear - nursing the delusional fantasy that some 12 million human beings will somehow uproot themselves (in many cases after years of US residency) and return to their impoverished homelands simply because we want them to do so? And speaking of rewarding good behavior, and punishing the bad: those courageous conservatives (Senators Kyl, Graham, Isakson and, yes, McCain) who have worked constructively and seriously on immigration reform deserve our support, not our rage, while those politicians and media figures who have demagogued this issue in a way that only makes it worse, in no way merit our encouragement."

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May 21 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Sumter will receive nearly $1.3 million in housing program grants.

Community Development Block Grant - $389,384

The Community Development Block Grant program develops communities and provides housing by expanding economic opportunities for low and moderate income households.

HOME Investment Partnership - $895,749

The HOME Investment Partnership Program creates affordable housing by allowing communities to design and implement strategies tailored to their own needs and priorities.

American Dream Down Payment Initiative - $13,533

The American Dream Down Payment Initiative promotes homeownership opportunities by providing necessary resources for down payment and closing cost assistance to lower-income and minority households.

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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May 21 2007

Graham Announces More Than $15 Million for South Carolina Airports

Passenger Airports serving Charleston, Columbia and Greenville-Spartanburg Receive Nearly $10 Million

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $15 million in federal grants for airports in South Carolina.  Passenger airports serving Charleston, Columbia and Greenville-Spartanburg received nearly two-thirds of the total funding.

“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.”

Major Awards for South Carolina Include:

Charleston International Airport / Charleston Air Force Base (CHS)
The Charleston County Aviation Authority will receive a $2,203,397 grant for Charleston AFB/International Airport.  The funds will be used to replace the flight information display system and baggage information display system; replace radio equipment; and to extend rain covered walkways to the public parking area.

Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)
The Richland/Lexington Airport Commission will receive a $3,852,199 grant for Columbia Metropolitan Airport.  The funds will be used to purchase and install a new regional jet bridge; purchase a pavement friction tester; rehabilitate taxiway lights; and rehabilitate runway surfaces.

Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)
The Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Commission will receive a $3,915,615 grant for Greenville Spartanburg International Airport.  The funds will be used for the rehabilitation of runway and taxiway lights including the installation of an airfield lighting computer system; reconstruction of aprons; renovation of the terminal restrooms; and the installation of public seating in the terminal.

Other award recipients in South Carolina:

Aiken
The City of Aiken will receive a $150,000 grant to install perimeter fencing at Aiken Municipal Airport.

Allendale
Allendale County will receive a $150,000 grant to aid in the construction of a new terminal building at the Allendale County Airport.

Anderson
Anderson County will receive a $150,000 grant to purchase land within the runway protection zone at Anderson Regional Airport.

Beaufort
Beaufort County will receive a $773,222 grant for the Hilton Head Airport.  The funds will be used for land acquisition, the design of a new airport rescue and firefighting vehicle building, updating the airport master plan, and obstruction removal.

Beaufort County will receive a $160,550 grant to remove obstructions and update the master plan at the Beaufort County Airport.

Chesterfield
Cheraw will receive a $345,441 grant for taxiway construction at Cheraw Municipal/Lynch Bellinger Field.

Pageland will receive a $300,000 grant to install perimeter fencing and acquire land for future development at the Pageland Airport.

Dorchester
Dorchester County will receive a $150,000 grant to install a runway vertical/visual guidance system and remove obstructions at the St. George Airport.

Horry
Horry County will receive a $150,000 grant to remove obstructions at the Grand Strand Airport.

Jasper
Jasper County will receive a $280,900 grant to rehabilitate the runway at the Ridgeland Airport.

Laurens
Laurens County will receive a $149,500 grant for the Laurens County Airport.  The funds will be used to construct a fuel farm, design a hangar, and acquire approach easements.

Newberry
Newberry County will receive a $2,150,000 grant to begin site preparation and construction on a new runway at the Newberry County Airport.

Spartanburg
The City of Spartanburg will receive a $131,000 grant to design a new apron and taxiway to serve the new terminal building at the Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport.

York
The City of Rock Hill will receive a $150,000 grant for taxiway design and to acquire land at Rock Hill/York County/Bryant Field.

All grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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May 21 2007

Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard

“In 2006, with Republicans in control of the Senate, an immigration bill that was anathema to most Republicans passed the Senate by a filibuster-proof margin. Now, oddly enough, with Democrats in charge, the Senate is likely to approve an immigration bill -- call it Kyl-Kennedy -- that from a Republican perspective represents a major improvement over the earlier bill in almost every conceivable way.”

Fox News Channel Bill O’Reilly on the Compromise Legislation
“The bottom line here is that if the bill doesn't pass, another ten million illegal aliens are going to come here in the next five years anyway. So the chaos we have now will double.  The new immigration bill is unfair to those who've obeyed the rules. It is dangerous if not tightly controlled. And it is definitely amnesty. But if the bill does not pass, things will get even worse in America.”

New York Times Opposes the Immigration Compromise
 “It is the nation’s duty to welcome immigrants, to treat them decently and give them the opportunity to assimilate. But if it does so according to the outlines of the deal being debated this week, the change will come at too high a price: The radical repudiation of generations of immigration policy, the weakening of families and the creation of a system of modern peonage within our borders.”

Michael Barone in National Review
“In his negotiations with Kennedy, Kyl has secured many provisions that make this bill more stringent than the one that passed the Senate last May by a vote of 62 to 36. That's a significant accomplishment.  Changing U.S. public policy is like steering a giant ship — it's impossible to sharply reverse course, but you can change the direction in a way that will make a significant difference over time.”

Conservative Talk Radio Show Host Michael Medved
 “Do we want to encourage illegals to try to rectify their status – to come out of the shadows, play by the rules, pay all taxes due, learn English, and assimilate into our society? Or do we only want them to disappear – nursing the delusional fantasy that some 12 million human beings will somehow uproot themselves (in many cases after years of US residency) and return to their impoverished homelands simply because we want them to do so?  And speaking of rewarding good behavior, and punishing the bad: those courageous conservatives (Senators Kyl, Graham, Isakson and, yes, McCain) who have worked constructively and seriously on immigration reform deserve our support, not our rage, while those politicians and media figures who have demagogued this issue in a way that only makes it worse, in no way merit our encouragement.”

 

May 21 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced South Carolina will receive more than $4.3 million in Infrastructure Protection Program grants.  All of the awards in South Carolina were in the area of port security.

Charleston
The South Carolina State Ports Authority will receive $3,720,464; the City of Charleston will receive $456,000; and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office will receive $75,000.

Beaufort
The Beaufort County Council Emergency Management Division will receive $55,785.

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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