Oct 03 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the financial rescue plan.  The legislation will now be sent to President Bush for his signature.

He said:

“The South Carolina House delegation spoke with one voice and represented the needs of Main Street.  If Congress had failed to act, it would have had a negative impact on every day working people and small business in our state. 

“Unity on a matter this controversial is hard to find and it’s unusual to see all six members on the same page.  I believe the overwhelming vote shows the seriousness of the problem.  We are hearing from every corner of the state about the drying up of credit and the real, negative economic impact this is having on Main Street. 

“None of us wanted to be in this situation but we are doing what South Carolinians expect of us and rising to meet the serious economic challenge facing our nation.

“The legislation is not perfect, but it does provide a workable solution to help prevent what would have been the imminent financial collapse of banks and lending institutions.  For the common good, we found a solution to this problem before more people lost their homes, businesses shut their doors, college dreams were dashed, and additional jobs were lost.   

“Our nation’s economy still faces troubled waters ahead and a full economic recovery remains a ways off.  This plan will provide tools to help navigate the economic troubles that lie ahead.”


Oct 01 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he would vote in support of the rescue plan scheduled to come for a vote in the Senate today.


“We face an unpleasant but necessary choice,” said Graham.  “The crisis is real and is beginning to have a real, negative impact on Main Street America.  I am optimistic the Senate will act decisively.


“Over the past few days, I have heard from all corners of our state the dire consequences of congressional inaction,” said Graham.  “Businesses – both big and small -- are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain loans to meet operating expenses and fund expansions.  Some of the oldest businesses in America stand on the brink and people will lose their jobs.  Time is of the essence.  We must act.”


Graham noted the legislation has dramatically changed since it was first introduced.  Over time and as the economy improves, the taxpayer will recoup money and collected funds will be go toward debt retirement -- not shady groups like ACORN.


It now includes important safeguards such as an oversight board to review the governments acquisitions of troubled assets, limits on executive compensation packages and a prohibition on ‘golden parachutes’ for failed executives at troubled firms.  A ‘clawback’ provision -- which allows the government to recover any bonus or incentive compensation paid to a senior executive based on materially inaccurate information -- is also included.


The legislation increases from $100,000 to $250,000 in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance on bank accounts and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a revision of ‘mark to market’ accounting practices.  These provisions taken together will increase consumer confidence, strengthen the legislation, and help bring additional Senators on board.


“The rescue package now contains strong protections for the taxpayers,” said Graham. “It was crafted to ensure that any purchases or loans by the government will be backed up by hard assets.  Taxpayers also will not subsidize multi-million dollar buyouts for CEO’s and other top managers who created this problem.


“My primary concern has always been that with the failure of lending institutions credit would dry up,” said Graham.  “When that happens, reasonable rate loans to consumers and businesses become scarce. It takes a toll as South Carolinians increasingly find it harder to get a loan for a new car, expand a business, or attend college on student loans.


“Unfortunately, we have many difficult days ahead as our economy tries to regain its footing,” said Graham.  “This package will not solve all of our economic problems.  But without it, the American taxpayer will face even greater exposure.


“I remain committed to making sure the root cause of the problem -- mortgages being given to people who never should have had them -- does not happen again,” said Graham.  “This is the first step – not the last – in cleaning up this financial mess.  We must also put stronger regulations and oversight in place to bring transparency to the markets.  I fear our failure to act in these areas will only lay the groundwork for similar disasters in the future.”





Sep 30 2008

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week urging him to ensure a fair election process.


The Senators noted a recent report that several attorneys in the Civil Rights Division may have been influenced by partisan political motivation when targeting fully legal political activities.  The Senators went on to express concern that at a symposium on elections, these same attorneys cited numerous examples of intimidation or suppression by Republicans, but failed to offer even one example of similar practices by Democrats.


“This omission is remarkable given the multiple claims of voter intimidation and vote suppression that supporters of Senator Obama and Clinton made against each other during this year’s Democratic primary,” wrote the Senators.


The Senators also expressed concern about the ability of the Department of Justice to adequately protect poll watchers and poll monitors from intimidation at polling places:


“…it is vital that the Department both ensure access to voting and that legitimate votes are not diluted by illegal votes.  Poll watchers and monitors do both; they not only watch the polls to protect against discrimination and undue influence, they help to deter and detect voter fraud and other illegal conduct.  Unfortunately, we have seen an ever increasing level of hostility and intimidation directed at these important players in the election process.”


Graham was joined on the letter by Senators Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), Orin Hatch (R-Utah), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma).




View Attorney General Muskasey's response to Senator Graham here.








Sep 29 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives against the financial rescue plan.  He said:


“I have never been more disappointed in the Congress than I am today.  I hope every member of the House of Representatives -- Republican and Democrat -- who voted against this legislation will work in the next twenty-four hours to improve the bill.  Now is the time to put the national interest above the self interest.


“Speaker Pelosi’s partisan comments before the vote obviously did not help matters.  Now is not the time for extreme partisanship but time for our nation to pull together for the common good.


“If we do not address this issue, our nation may be headed toward a major financial collapse.  For the common good, we must find a solution to this problem.  Without the ability to borrow money to build a business, buy a home, or go to school, our country will be brought to its financial knees.


“Today’s actions will ripple throughout our economy.  More people will lose their homes.  Businesses may be forced to shut their doors.  Life savings and retirement accounts will take a severe hit. I fear those who voted against this legislation have put our nation’s economy at risk.


"Democratic and Republican leaders must find a way to bring more votes on board to this bipartisan bill.  I will continue to do my part in this effort as I realize the cost of congressional inaction will be steep.”











Sep 22 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Wall Street rescue plan proposed by Secretary Paulson and congressional efforts to place limits on executive compensation.

On the Proposal from Secretary Paulson:

“I respect Secretary Paulson, but no individual should have this much ‘blank check’ authority.  The oversight and accountability provisions in the initial proposal were limited and must be strengthened. 

“It is imperative Congress work quickly and cooperatively with the Administration to address our financial problems before they get worse. 

“I realize any proposal will not contain all provisions I like or support.  I do hope however we give further consideration to the creation of an independent board made up of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who would have oversight over any government’s expenditures on a rescue plan.  There is merit in this approach and I hope it would be an essential ingredient in any bailout plan.  We need to bring the best minds in our nation together to help solve a very difficult problem. 

“Now is the time to focus on solutions, not empty rhetoric.” 

On Limits on Executive Compensation for Participating Firms:

“Taxpayers should not subsidize multi-million dollar buyouts for CEO’s and other top managers who created this problem.  If a company participates in a proposed government rescue plan, there should be limits on the executive’s compensation.  They should not be rewarded for their massive failures.  The last thing we need is an executive of a failed firm walking away with millions.”


Sep 19 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after hearing from President Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson on the state of the United States financial system. 

He said:

“We must get to the heart of the problem and that is the effect bad mortgage loans are having on our economy.  If not addressed, this problem will have an increasingly negative impact on the ability of average Americans to borrow money to buy a home, build a business, or go to college.  If we do not use sound judgment, I fear many American’s who have worked hard all their lives and invested in their future, will be placed at additional financial risk. 

“This current financial crisis started with the subprime mortgage sector where individuals were allowed to borrow funds and buy homes they could not afford.  It was a house of cards that has led to severe consequences for other sectors of the financial markets.  The practice has since come back to haunt our nation. 

“Getting bad debt out our financial system may be the only way to recapitalize our nation and prevent an institutional collapse that would jeopardize the financial future of all Americans.  I know the price to fix this problem is enormous.  However, at the end of the day, it may be less than the price of doing nothing and risking a complete financial meltdown. 

“I look forward to studying the proposal Secretary Paulson will submit to Congress in the coming days and asking tough questions to ensure taxpayers are protected to the maximum extent possible. 

“I believe it is in our national interest for Congress to act sooner rather than later.  This is not the time for partisan politics or the blame game.  We must get this right.

“Looking forward, Secretary Paulson’s proposal will be the first step -- not the last -- in cleaning up this financial mess.  We must also put stronger regulations and oversight in place to bring transparency to the markets.  I fear our failure to act in these areas will only lay the groundwork for similar disasters in the future.”


Sep 15 2008

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced that due to agricultural losses caused by drought and excessive heat, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 44 of the 46 counties in South Carolina as primary disaster areas.  Beaufort and Charleston counties have been designated contiguous disaster areas.

“This is welcome news for South Carolina’s farmers,” said Graham.  “The drought and heat have made 2008 a difficult year.  I’m pleased to see relief is on the way.”

These designations make farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Services Administration (FSA).  Local FSA offices can provide farmers with more information.


Sep 11 2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after attending the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Later today, Graham will travel to New York City to visit Ground Zero.

He said:

“The ceremony honoring the passengers of Flight 93 was very moving.  The passengers on Flight 93 were the first Americans to fight back against the terrorists and made the ultimate sacrifice.  Their love for their country and their families overcame the hate of the terrorists.

“I had the great fortune to meet with many family members of Flight 93.  While they are still suffering from grief, they are very proud of their loved ones.

“The Flight 93 Memorial is a reminder that when evil comes our way we must fight back.  Evil must be confronted. Seven years after 9/11, we are still fighting back and I hope our nation never forgets what can happen when we are indifferent to evil.”


Sep 10 2008

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate has approved a resolution recognizing the week of September 7, 2008 as “National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.”

The resolution, introduced by Graham, was passed unanimously and calls on Americans to observe the week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to demonstrate support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities provide quality educational experiences and play a vital role in an increasingly complex and highly technological society,” said Graham.  “HBCUs have a rich heritage and have played a prominent role in the history of the United States. Further, they have allowed many students to attain their full potential through higher education. I am pleased the Senate has come together in a bipartisan fashion to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of these institutions.”

“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund family applauds Senator Graham’s leadership in recognizing the historic legacy and commitment to excellence of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Dwayne Ashley, President and CEO.  “The Fund looks forward to continuing to expand higher educational opportunities for all of its students.”

President Bush has also issued a proclamation designating September 7-13, 2008 as “National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.”

South Carolina is home to 8 Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Allen University, Benedict College, Claflin University, Clinton Junior College, Denmark Technical College, Morris College, South Carolina State University, and Voorhees College.



Sep 10 2008

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today urged the U.S. Senate to adopt a bipartisan resolution that recognizes the reality of the strategic success of the surge in Iraq :


"It was exactly one year ago today that General David Petraeus returned to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress about the progress of the surge in Iraq. At the time, many members of the Senate argued that the surge -- despite growing evidence of its success -- was not working and should be abandoned. One left-wing group, Moveon.org, even made the despicable and outrageous accusation that General Petraeus would try to 'cook the books' to justify the surge when he appeared before Congress.


"One year later, it is clear: the critics of the surge were wrong.


"Had we heeded their advice to retreat from Iraq in 2007, the United States would have suffered a catastrophic defeat in the heart of the Middle East that would have had terrible consequences far beyond Iraq for years to come. Fortunately, we did not abandon General Petraeus and his brave troops, and as a result, the situation in Iraq has completely reversed. We have witnessed substantial progress on the political, economic and military fronts. Our enemies are weaker, and America is safer.


"We congratulate the Iraqi people for coming together in the face of so much adversity to further the peace and prosperity of their country.  We honor their sacrifices and share in their desire to continue to build on success.


"The situation in Iraq remains fragile and complex. The war is not over. Our two deadliest enemies -- al Qaeda and Iran -- will seize any opportunities we hand them to come back.


"However, because of the strategic success of the surge, more and more American troops are coming home, not in defeat, but in honor.


"In withdrawing our troops from Iraq , however, it is critical that we do not jeopardize the hard-won gains they have achieved. That means any withdrawal must be based on the recommendations of General Petraeus and our commanders on the ground, not on an arbitrary timeline invented in Washington . Our brave military has fought too hard, and sacrificed too much, for American politicians to throw away the gains they have achieved with an arbitrary timeline.


"What is needed now, therefore, is not more partisan politics over Iraq, but for Democrats and Republicans alike to come together and recognize reality: to acknowledge that the surge was not just a tactical success but a strategic success; to give thanks to our courageous men and women in uniform who made it possible; and to pledge that we will do nothing that might squander these hard-won gains.


"For that reason, we have introduced a bipartisan resolution that recognizes the reality of the strategic success of the surge. We hope that the Senate can unite to take up and adopt this resolution this week, on the one year anniversary of General Petraeus' testimony before Congress and as he prepares to depart Baghdad to take command of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). The moment has come for the Senate to speak with one voice and admit the strategic success of the surge."