Jun 22 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring the nine Charleston firefighters killed in the line of duty Monday evening.

 

Graham introduced the resolution along with Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and others.

 

“All South Carolinians are indebted to these brave men who gave their lives to protect others,” said Graham.  “Today we honor the commitment and sacrifice of these men and all firefighters throughout the country.  I thank my colleagues for joining together to honor these American heroes and extend our deepest sympathies to their families.”   

 

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Jun 20 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the current situation involving the office of South Carolina Treasurer.

“Governor Sanford chose wisely in picking Ken Wingate to serve as our state’s interim Treasurer.  Ken is a good man and I know he will do a fine job for the people of South Carolina.

“I have great respect and admiration for the Ravenel family.  I know this is a traumatic event.  Like any other citizen, Thomas Ravenel should be presumed to be innocent.  The government has the burden of proving the charges against him.  I have confidence the legal system will fairly deal with the accusations.”

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Jun 19 2007

WASHINGTON – South Carolina’s United States Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint submitted this statement today into the Congressional Record.

– South Carolina’s United States Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint submitted this statement today into the Congressional Record.

"On June 18, 2007, in the face of blazing fire, sacrifice and duty overcame fear and surrender. With great sadness and the utmost respect, we mourn the tremendous loss of nine of our finest firefighters, as well as the immeasurable loss experienced by their families and loved ones. As the flames engulfed the building, the brave men and women of the Charleston County Fire Department rushed into the collapsing building as others were running out, fleeing for their lives. May this extraordinary courage and sacrifice forever reflect the spirit of South Carolina, as well as that of our great Nation.

"We extend our sincerest condolences to their families, their colleagues, and their friends. You give your loved ones to us—to serve and protect our communities, putting public service above personal comfort. Our gratitude is boundless and our respect infinitely deep. We grieve beside you, and we take pride in and are humbled by this ultimate display of service and valor. In the midst of grief and devastation, may you find comfort in knowing that the memory of your loved ones will be forever etched in the minds of South Carolinians as the true embodiment of an American Hero.

"The United States has not experienced such a devastating loss of firefighters since the horrific events on September 11, 2001. May the Charleston County Fire Department, led by Chief Rusty Thomas, as well as emergency personnel around the country, forever fill this massive void with the legacy left behind by these brave fallen firefighters. Let their legacy not be engulfed by flames and reduced to rubble but rather let it embolden and encourage others to serve in their honor and continue their mission to public service. There is no higher call than to serve, and to the fallen, their families, and those that will fill their shoes, we are forever indebted to you for your noble sacrifices."

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Jun 15 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the agreement to bring the immigration reform bill back to the floor.  The Senate will resume debate on immigration possibly as soon as next week.

 

 

Graham said:

 

 

“After 9-11 immigration reform is not just a social and economic problem, but also a national security issue of the highest importance.  I am pleased that the Senate leadership is going to bring the immigration reform bill back to the floor for further debate and amendment.  This is a great opportunity for the Senate, in a bipartisan fashion, to reform a chaotic immigration system.

 

 

“The challenge is to bring to the table workable solutions instead of political rhetoric that embraces the unrealistic and caters to fear.  I hope the Senate can rise to the occasion because if we fail it will be years before this issue is dealt with again, and the current chaos will continue to grow.

 

 

“Much is at stake for the Senate and the country as we resume debate on immigration reform.  We have a chance to prove to the American people that we still have the ability to solve hard problems, or we can choose to reinforce growing skepticism about our government and fall further in the eyes of the American people.

 

 

“As elected leaders of the world’s greatest democracy I hope we will choose to make tough decisions and not pass this problem on to the next generation of political leaders.  I understand the public skepticism about any effort to reform immigration.  However, skepticism should never be used as an excuse for inaction.”

 

 

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Jun 14 2007

WASHINGTON -- President Bush today came out strongly in support of U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) proposed amendment to the Senate immigration bill requiring mandatory funding for border security and enforcement provisions contained in the legislation.

 

“The moment the presidential signing pen meets the paper these funds will be available,” said Graham.  “I’m very pleased President Bush has embraced the Graham-Kyl Amendment requiring mandatory funding for border security and enforcement.”

 

Today, in a speech to the Associated Builders and Contractors President Bush said, “We're going to show the American people that the promises in this bill will be kept” and that the legislation would also “show the American people that we’re going to do our jobs of securing this border once and for all.”  

 

Graham’s proposed amendment, introduced with Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), will immediately make available $4.4 billion in mandatory spending to secure our nation’s borders.  Funds will be spent on miles of new fencing, miles of new vehicle barriers, surveillance towers, detention beds, the Electronic Employee Verification System (EEVS), and other enforcement programs.  The penalties paid by z-visa holders as a condition of their punishment and probation would reimburse taxpayers for the border security improvements.

 

“The funds will be ready to use in our efforts to construct miles of new fencing, miles of new vehicle barriers, utilize new cutting-edge technology at the border, build surveillance towers, institute an EEVS to ensure workers are legal, and other enforcement measures,” said Graham.

 

“Congress has listened and heard the constructive criticism which has been offered,” said Graham.  “The Graham-Kyl Amendment addresses legitimate concerns on the part of the American people that Congress would not fund our border security efforts.  I believe we have now addressed those concerns and I expect Congress will pass this amendment when we return to immigration reform.”

 

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Jun 13 2007

SENATORS' BILL PUTS NEW TOOLS, TEETH IN CURRENCY POLICY

Graham, Baucus, Grassley, and Schumer unveil long-awaited legislation addressing misaligned foreign currencies, competitive threats to U.S. businesses and workers

WASHINGTON-- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) along with Senators Max Baucus (D-Montana), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Charles Schumer (D-New York) today introduced major legislation to deal with foreign currency concerns threatening the U.S. economy. 
The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2007 establishes a new approach to examining world currencies, requiring new consultations with offending nations and imposing new consequences for inaction.    When currencies are so undervalued that they become fundamentally misaligned with the U.S. dollar, they can put American manufacturers and wage-earners at a significant disadvantage in the global economy.  The bill unveiled today is the result of the four Senators’ 2006 commitment to draft new, vigorous, and WTO-consistent legislation to address currency misalignments.  
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This is a wake-up call," said Graham.  "No longer will the United States sit on the sidelines and allow other nations to gain an unfair advantage by manipulating their currency.  Our legislation is a much-needed and long overdue change.  There is no doubt that China and other nations have been manipulating their currency to give themselves an advantage.  For too long the game has been rigged against American business.  Working together we will change currency practices to put American business on a level playing field."
"This bill requires the Treasury Department to take firm but fair action when other nations play games with the U.S. dollar.  For too long, our currency policy has left American workers and businesses unprotected from foreign governments seeking an unfair financial advantage," said Baucus.  "We’ve worked together to craft a measured but meaningful framework for dealing with currency concerns.  This is a reasonable response to the problems caused when currencies are significantly out of sync.  Treasury should welcome the opportunity this bill offers to give America a strong and even hand in currency matters."
"The United States respects the rule of law. We expect our trading partners to do the same," said Grassley.  "Unlike some other approaches to currency manipulation, this bill is WTO-compliant. It sets consequences for countries that want to access the U.S. market but don’t play fair. We’re not picking a fight with anyone.  Today, the problem country is China. Tomorrow, it may be Country X. This enforcement structure could apply to any trading partner with out-of-whack currency.  It gives a good chance for self-correction before penalties ramp up.  It’s a velvet glove with a steel fist inside."
"This breakthrough proposal is like nothing else because it’s tough, wide-reaching and WTO-compliant," said Schumer.  "The previous legislation got China’s attention; the purpose of this legislation is to force change.  Drafting legislation that was both tough and WTO-compliant was no easy task but we worked and worked for what appears to be the most elegant solution to the China conundrum so far."
The Senators’ bill eliminates the current U.S. Treasury Department framework for addressing currency concerns, which requires Treasury to label countries "currency manipulators" before taking action and then only requires negotiation with the offending country.  The potential political consequences of the "manipulator" label have kept Treasury from applying it as needed to protect U.S. economic concerns. 
The consensus proposal unveiled today instead requires the U.S. Treasury to identify "fundamentally misaligned" currencies to Congress twice a year, marking some currencies for "priority action" if the misalignment is clearly caused by a foreign government’s economic policies.  Treasury will be required to consult with any country with fundamentally misaligned currency, but a designation for "priority action" has further immediate consequences.  The Treasury Department will be required to oppose changes in International Monetary Fund (IMF) rules benefiting that nation, and currency concerns will be taken into account if countries with non-market economies wish to receive market status.
If a designated country fails to take appropriate action within six months, additional steps must be taken.  When the U.S. works to determine whether a country is unfairly dumping goods into the American market, it must be taken into account that the undervalued currency makes imported goods from the designated country artificially cheap.  Further steps include suspension of U.S. government procurement, requests for special consultation by the IMF, and suspension of loans and private insurance from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to U.S. companies wishing to operate in that nation.  If issues are not resolved within one year, the legislation requires the U.S. Trade Representative to commence WTO dispute settlement proceedings regarding the currency problem, and requires the Treasury Secretary to consider possible remedial intervention by the Federal Reserve Board and other central banks. 
At the six-month and twelve-month marks, the President of the United States may waive the bill’s requirements if implementing them poses a threat to national security or America’s economic interests.  But the bill also increases congressional input by giving Congress the ability to voice disapproval of the Presidential economic waiver, and by creating a new body – appointed by the President and the leaders of committees of jurisdiction – with which Treasury must consult during the development of its report. 
Baucus and Grassley are Chairman and Ranking Republican and Schumer is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over U.S. trade policy.    The Senators’ bill is expected to be referred to the Finance Committee.
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Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Senate no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
 
“The time we spend on the Senate floor debating issues is a precious commodity.  I cannot think of a bigger waste of time than the Democratic resolution expressing no-confidence in the Attorney General.
 
“This resolution takes the country down a road we have never traveled before.  If successful, it could start an endless journey of political sniping and sophomoric payback.  The Congress is in low standing with the public for a reason. The Democratic leaderships decision to bring up matters such as this – an unprecedented political stunt – reinforces our low standing.  For these reasons, I will vote against moving the resolution forward.”
 
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Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the City of Charleston will receive more than $2.3 million in housing program grants.

Community Development Block Grant - $1,094,273

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

HOME Investment Partnership - $826,621

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

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS - $401,000

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program provides housing assistance and related support services to state and local governments.

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

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Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Department of Public Safety will receive a $5,497,757 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.  The funds can be used for crime control and prevention programs.

South Carolina will use the grant money for:

  • Law enforcement programs that target drug distribution networks, provide equipment upgrades, and prioritize domestic violence offenses and crimes against children and the aged.
  • Prosecution and court programs that provide prosecutorial resources and concentrate on offenders accused of violent crimes and criminal domestic violence, and support services to relieve caseloads in mental health courts.
  • Prevention and education programs to reduce crime and enhance security in schools.
  • Planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs that improve interoperable communications, interconnectivity, and enhancement to data systems that promote reporting crime data.

Graham noted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will also receive a $351,913 grant to improve criminal history record systems.  SLED will use the funds to develop and implement a uniform RAP sheet that is compliant with both the Global Justice XML Data Model and the National Information Exchange Model.

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

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Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Furman University and Greenville Technical College will receive $1.1 million in scientific research grants.

Furman

Furman University will receive a $272,000 grant for a project entitled "RUI: Photochemistry and Photophysics of Macrocyclic Chromium(III) Complexes: An Investigation of Electronic Energy Self-Exchange."

Greenville Tech

Greenville Technical College will receive an $886,886 grant for a project entitled "Virtual Simulated Inspection (ViSIns) Laboratory: Using Interactive 3D Knowledge Objects to Promote Learning for Non-Destructive Inspection in Aviation Maintenance Technology.”

The grants were awarded by the National Science Foundation.

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