Nov 10 2005

Senate Passes Graham Detainee Plan

Amendment Sets Guidelines For the Detention of Enemy Combatants and Clarifies that foreign terrorists do not have unlimited access to US courts.

WASHINGTON- Today, by a vote of 49-42, the United States Senate expressed support for an plan authored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) that strengthens the review process of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) while clarifying that non-citizen terrorists do not have unlimited access to U.S. courts. After the vote Graham made the following statement. “I firmly believe that 9/11 was an act of war and not a crime. The detainees at GTMO are not American citizens facing criminal trial, rather, they are terrorists who have taken up arms against the United States. “There has never been a time in our military history where an enemy combatant or prisoner of war has been allowed access to federal court to bring lawsuits against the people they are fighting. Habeas corpus rights have never been given to an enemy combatant and the Senate today reaffirmed that principal. “Today the Senate voted to allow detainees a one-time appeal of their status to a single federal court and, at the same time, stopped the legal abuse. Currently, over 160 cases have been filed by terrorists suing our own troops over every action taken. The due process rights of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay are stronger than Geneva requirements, and with the addition of federal court review, are a model for the world. “It is not fair to our troops fighting in the War on Terror to be sued in every court in the land by our enemies based on every possible complaint. We have done nothing today but return to the basics of the law of armed conflict where we are dealing with enemy combatants not common criminals.” #### Graham Amendment Senator Lindsey Graham’s amendment strengthens the review process of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) while clarifying that non-citizen terrorists do not have access to U.S. courts. The Current Situation at GTMO
  • The detention status of all detainees at GTMO is assessed by an administrative process called the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT).
  • CSRT determines the status of a detainee and whether they should be detained at GTMO as an unlawful enemy combatant.
  • The CSRT is composed of three military officers. One officer is a judge advocate (military lawyer) while the senior ranking officer serves as president of the tribunal. Each detainee is assigned a military officer as a personal representative. The officer assists the detainee in preparing for the tribunal hearing.
  • In the tribunal, detainees have the right to testify before the tribunal, call witnesses and introduce evidence.
  • Following a hearing of testimony and introduction of evidence, the tribunal goes into closed-door session to determine whether the detainee is properly being termed an enemy combatant. Any detainee determined not to be an enemy combatant is transferred to their home country or handled in a manner consistent with domestic and international obligations and U.S. foreign policy.
  • Enemy Combatants detained at GTMO also go before the Administrative Review Board (ARB) for an annual review of their status. The ARB is a three person panel comprised of military officers who determine if the individual is still an enemy combatant, still holds intelligence value or still presents a threat to the United States.
What Reforms Are Proposed in the Amendment? The Graham amendment proposes several changes. They include:
  • CSRT may not consider information that was proven by preponderance of the evidence to have been obtained with undue coercion.
  • The Designated Civilian Official, the final authority on the Administrative Review Board, must be confirmed by the Senate. (Currently, the Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England)
  • Under the Graham amendment the determination of the CSRT would be subject to review by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This in an historic and unprecedented change.
The amendment also contains a provision authorizing the Secretary of Defense to change the procedures as long as they give notice to Congress in advance of implementation. The CSRT / ARB Process and the Geneva Conventions
  • Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 requires a party to an international armed conflict to use a "competent tribunal" to determine the status of a person when there is doubt as to whether the person qualifies as a Prisoner of War.
  • While, by definition, Article 5 does not apply to Al Qaida (because they do not qualify as POW’s and are not part of a state party), the United States established the CSRT and ARB to address the due process concerns expressed by the Supreme Court.
  • The CSRT and ARB procedures, especially with the changes required in this amendment, more than satisfy the requirement for a “competent tribunal” provided for in the Geneva Convention.
The Need for Habeas Reform As it Concerns Enemy Combatants
  • The Supreme Court’s Rasul (2004) decision held that federal courts have jurisdiction to hear habeas petitions from Guantanamo detainees.
  • For the first time foreign terrorists in U.S. custody have begun claiming the rights and benefits of the U.S. Constitution, our laws, and treaties.
  • Over 160 habeas petitions on behalf of approximately 300 detainees have been filed in federal court to date.
  • An array of habeas challenges have been filed including those questioning the quality of their food and speed of mail delivery. Others have questioned the legality of their detention, propriety of returning a detainee to their home country, and allotment of exercise time. The Department of Justice is devoting tremendous resources to the litigation of habeas petitions filed by GTMO detainees.
  • The federal suits are also slowing our intelligence gathering efforts from detainees. Michael Ratner, a lawyer who has filed lawsuits on behalf of numerous enemy combatants, boasts of this fact. He said, “The litigation is brutal for [the United States.] It’s huge. We have over one hundred lawyers now from big and small firms working to represent these detainees. Every time an attorney goes down there, it makes it much harder [for the U.S. military] to do what they’re doing. You can’t run an interrogation…with attorneys. What are they going to do now that we’re getting court orders to get more lawyers down there?”
  • The amendment clarifies the previous understanding of the habeas statute that aliens outside the United States do not have access to our federal courts.
  • The amendment only applies to NON-CITIZEN TERRORISTS.
Examples of Habeas Petitions Filed on Behalf of Detainees 1. Canadian detainee who threw a grenade that killed an Army medic in firefight and who comes from family with longstanding al Qaeda ties moves for preliminary injunction forbidding interrogation of him or engaging in "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of him (n.b. this motion was denied by Judge Bates) 2. "Al Odah motion for dictionary internet security forms" -- Kuwaiti detainees seek court orders that they be provided dictionaries in contravention of GTMO's force protection policy and that their counsel be given high-speed internet access at their lodging on the base and be allowed to use classified DoD telecommunications facilities, all on the theory that otherwise their "right to counsel" is unduly burdened 3. "Alladeen -- Motion for TRO re transfer" -- Egyptian detainee who Combatant Status Review Tribunal adjudicated as no longer an enemy combatant, and who was therefore due to be released by the US, files motion to block his repatriation to Egypt 4. "Paracha -- Motion for PI re Conditions" -- Motion by high level al Qaeda detainee complaining about base security procedures, speed of mail delivery, and medical treatment; seeking an order that he be transferred to the "least onerous conditions" at GTMO and asking the court to order that GTMO allow him to keep any books and reading materials sent to him and to "report to the Court" on "his opportunities for exercise, communication, recreation, worship, etc." 5. "Motion for PI re Medical Records" -- Motion by detainee accusing military's health professionals of "gross and intentional medical malpractice" in alleged violation of the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments, 42 USC 1981, and unspecified international agreements. 6. "Abdah -- Emergency Motion re DVDs" -- "emergency" motion seeking court order requiring GTMO to set aside its normal security policies and show detainees DVDs that are purported to be family videos. 7. "Petitioners' Supp. Opposition" -- Filing by detainee requesting that, as a condition of a stay of litigation pending related appeals, the Court involve itself in his medical situation and set the stage for them to second-guess the provision of medical care and other conditions of confinement 8. "Al Odah Supplement to PI Motion" -- Motion by Kuwaiti detainees unsatisfied with the Koran they are provided as standard issue by GTMO, seeking court order that they be allowed to keep various other supplementary religious materials, such as a "tafsir" or 4-volume Koran with commentary, in their cells.

Nov 10 2005

Senate Passes Graham Detainee Plan

Amendment Sets Guidelines For the Detention of Enemy Combatants and Clarifies that Foreign Terrorists do not have Unlimited Access to US Courts

WASHINGTON -- Today, by a vote of 49-42, the United States Senate expressed support for an plan authored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) that strengthens the review process of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) while clarifying that non-citizen terrorists do not have unlimited access to U.S. courts. After the vote Graham made the following statement. “I firmly believe that 9/11 was an act of war and not a crime. The detainees at GTMO are not American citizens facing criminal trial, rather, they are terrorists who have taken up arms against the United States. “There has never been a time in our military history where an enemy combatant or prisoner of war has been allowed access to federal court to bring lawsuits against the people they are fighting. Habeas corpus rights have never been given to an enemy combatant and the Senate today reaffirmed that principal. “Today the Senate voted to allow detainees a one-time appeal of their status to a single federal court and, at the same time, stopped the legal abuse. Currently, over 160 cases have been filed by terrorists suing our own troops over every action taken. The due process rights of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay are stronger than Geneva requirements, and with the addition of federal court review, are a model for the world. “It is not fair to our troops fighting in the War on Terror to be sued in every court in the land by our enemies based on every possible complaint. We have done nothing today but return to the basics of the law of armed conflict where we are dealing with enemy combatants not common criminals.” Graham Amendment Senator Lindsey Graham’s amendment strengthens the review process of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) while clarifying that non-citizen terrorists do not have access to U.S. courts. The Current Situation at GTMO * The detention status of all detainees at GTMO is assessed by an administrative process called the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT). * CSRT determines the status of a detainee and whether they should be detained at GTMO as an unlawful enemy combatant. * The CSRT is composed of three military officers. One officer is a judge advocate (military lawyer) while the senior ranking officer serves as president of the tribunal. Each detainee is assigned a military officer as a personal representative. The officer assists the detainee in preparing for the tribunal hearing. * In the tribunal, detainees have the right to testify before the tribunal, call witnesses and introduce evidence. * Following a hearing of testimony and introduction of evidence, the tribunal goes into closed-door session to determine whether the detainee is properly being termed an enemy combatant. Any detainee determined not to be an enemy combatant is transferred to their home country or handled in a manner consistent with domestic and international obligations and U.S. foreign policy. * Enemy Combatants detained at GTMO also go before the Administrative Review Board (ARB) for an annual review of their status. The ARB is a three person panel comprised of military officers who determine if the individual is still an enemy combatant, still holds intelligence value or still presents a threat to the United States. What Reforms Are Proposed in the Amendment? The Graham amendment proposes several changes. They include: * CSRT may not consider information that was proven by preponderance of the evidence to have been obtained with undue coercion. * The Designated Civilian Official, the final authority on the Administrative Review Board, must be confirmed by the Senate. (Currently, the Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England) * Under the Graham amendment the determination of the CSRT would be subject to review by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This in an historic and unprecedented change. The amendment also contains a provision authorizing the Secretary of Defense to change the procedures as long as they give notice to Congress in advance of implementation. The CSRT / ARB Process and the Geneva Conventions * Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 requires a party to an international armed conflict to use a "competent tribunal" to determine the status of a person when there is doubt as to whether the person qualifies as a Prisoner of War. * While, by definition, Article 5 does not apply to Al Qaida (because they do not qualify as POW’s and are not part of a state party), the United States established the CSRT and ARB to address the due process concerns expressed by the Supreme Court. * The CSRT and ARB procedures, especially with the changes required in this amendment, more than satisfy the requirement for a “competent tribunal” provided for in the Geneva Convention. The Need for Habeas Reform As it Concerns Enemy Combatants * The Supreme Court’s Rasul (2004) decision held that federal courts have jurisdiction to hear habeas petitions from Guantanamo detainees. * For the first time foreign terrorists in U.S. custody have begun claiming the rights and benefits of the U.S. Constitution, our laws, and treaties. * Over 160 habeas petitions on behalf of approximately 300 detainees have been filed in federal court to date. * An array of habeas challenges have been filed including those questioning the quality of their food and speed of mail delivery. Others have questioned the legality of their detention, propriety of returning a detainee to their home country, and allotment of exercise time. The Department of Justice is devoting tremendous resources to the litigation of habeas petitions filed by GTMO detainees. * The federal suits are also slowing our intelligence gathering efforts from detainees. Michael Ratner, a lawyer who has filed lawsuits on behalf of numerous enemy combatants, boasts of this fact. He said, “The litigation is brutal for [the United States.] It’s huge. We have over one hundred lawyers now from big and small firms working to represent these detainees. Every time an attorney goes down there, it makes it much harder [for the U.S. military] to do what they’re doing. You can’t run an interrogation…with attorneys. What are they going to do now that we’re getting court orders to get more lawyers down there?” * The amendment clarifies the previous understanding of the habeas statute that aliens outside the United States do not have access to our federal courts. * The amendment only applies to NON-CITIZEN TERRORISTS. Examples of Habeas Petitions Filed on Behalf of Detainees * Canadian detainee who threw a grenade that killed an Army medic in firefight and who comes from family with longstanding al Qaeda ties moves for preliminary injunction forbidding interrogation of him or engaging in "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of him (n.b. this motion was denied by Judge Bates). * "Al Odah motion for dictionary internet security forms" -- Kuwaiti detainees seek court orders that they be provided dictionaries in contravention of GTMO's force protection policy and that their counsel be given high-speed internet access at their lodging on the base and be allowed to use classified DoD telecommunications facilities, all on the theory that otherwise their "right to counsel" is unduly burdened. * "Alladeen -- Motion for TRO re transfer" -- Egyptian detainee who Combatant Status Review Tribunal adjudicated as no longer an enemy combatant, and who was therefore due to be released by the US, files motion to block his repatriation to Egypt. * "Paracha -- Motion for PI re Conditions" -- Motion by high level al Qaeda detainee complaining about base security procedures, speed of mail delivery, and medical treatment; seeking an order that he be transferred to the "least onerous conditions" at GTMO and asking the court to order that GTMO allow him to keep any books and reading materials sent to him and to "report to the Court" on "his opportunities for exercise, communication, recreation, worship, etc." * "Motion for PI re Medical Records" -- Motion by detainee accusing military's health professionals of "gross and intentional medical malpractice" in alleged violation of the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments, 42 USC 1981, and unspecified international agreements. * "Abdah -- Emergency Motion re DVDs" -- "emergency" motion seeking court order requiring GTMO to set aside its normal security policies and show detainees DVDs that are purported to be family videos. * "Petitioners' Supp. Opposition" -- Filing by detainee requesting that, as a condition of a stay of litigation pending related appeals, the Court involve itself in his medical situation and set the stage for them to second-guess the provision of medical care and other conditions of confinement. * "Al Odah Supplement to PI Motion" -- Motion by Kuwaiti detainees unsatisfied with the Koran they are provided as standard issue by GTMO, seeking court order that they be allowed to keep various other supplementary religious materials, such as a "tafsir" or 4-volume Koran with commentary, in their cells.

Nov 09 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced Central Community Volunteer Fire Department in Aiken will receive a $128,525 grant. “Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,” said Graham. “These grants help fire departments save lives by providing the means to obtain the best equipment and training available.” “I’m pleased to announce these grants that are important to the brave firefighters that risk their lives for the families of South Carolina,” said Senator DeMint. The Operations and Firefighter Safety Program grant may be used for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Nov 03 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the Conway Fire Department will receive a $442,524 grant to hire and recruit firefighters. “Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,” said Graham. “These grants help fire departments recruit and retain qualified professionals who are willing to risk their lives for others.” “I’m pleased to announce these grants that are important to the brave firefighters that risk their lives for the families of South Carolina,” said Senator DeMint. The SAFER fire grant program supports the hiring of full time firefighters and supports the recruitment and retention of volunteer fire fighters. Each award will require a five year performance period that will include a local matching requirement that increases over time, as follows: 10 percent in year one, 20 percent in year two, 50 percent in year three and 70 percent in year four. Grantees will be required to retain and bear the full cost of new hires for a minimum of one year beyond the fourth year of federal support. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Nov 03 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today voted in favor of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 that contains more than $8.1 million for South Carolina related projects. The bill passed the Senate 81-18, and was approved by the House last week.

“I am pleased that our Congressional delegation worked together to secure funding for these projects,” said Graham.

South Carolina related projects funded in the bill include:

Charleston

  • $2 million for modernization of the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory
  • $50,000 for research on integrated disease management strategies on livestock and crops

Clemson University

  • $1.19 million for a land use change study
  • $282,000 for crop/pest interaction study
  • $278,000 for peach tree short life study

Florence

  • $100,000 increase in funding for swine lagoon alternatives research at the Agricultural Research Station (ARS)
  • The bill provides language permitting the purchase of land by the ARS research laboratory

Orangeburg County

  • The bill directs the Department of Agriculture to give consideration to applications submitted by the county for grants and loans to be used for rural development.

South Carolina Related

  • $4.2 million for the Shrimp Aquaculture

The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Bush.

####

Oct 31 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Judge Alito is one of the most distinguished individuals to ever be nominated to the Supreme Court. His qualifications are beyond reproach. As a judge, he has compiled a long track record showing he is a strict constructionist. With this choice President Bush continues to fulfill his campaign promise to appoint strict constructionists to the Supreme Court. “The American people have rejected liberal judicial activism from the federal bench. I believe some of the over-the-top criticisms from some Democrat Senators are the result of frustration with the fact President Bush, through the ballot box, earned the right to select a Supreme Court nominee. These criticisms speak more to some Democratic Senators problems with the president than they do with the nominee. “John Roberts was a home run by the President and he will serve the country well for decades to come. The nomination of Judge Alito is equally impressive in terms of his qualifications and judicial philosophy which are very much in line with what the American people embraced in the last presidential election. “Efforts to filibuster this nomination based on his conservative judicial philosophy will only serve to weaken all three branches of our government. Filibusters based on ideology or judicial philosophy, if utilized by both parties, will create a Middle East style of politics in the Senate. “If that standard was used in the past, many conservatives would have surely filibustered Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsberg. They would have looked not at her qualifications, but rather her legal and political philosophy. From a subjective view, she was clearly out of the mainstream of American jurisprudence. I think liberals would have tried to apply such a standard to Justice [Antonin] Scalia who conservative views were well-known. “When John Roberts was confirmed to his position as Chief Justice, he applauded the Senate for understanding the difference between politics and being a judge. I hope Senators understand that advising and consenting is different than selecting. None of us, through the process of advising and consenting, should invalidate the election giving the President the ability to nominate well-qualified judges consistent with their campaign promises to the American people. “I’m hopeful the Senate will honor the results of the last election and give this well-qualified nominee a full and vigorous hearing followed by a fair up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. To do any less would result in long-term damage to the Presidency and the Senate.” #####

Oct 28 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement. “From this indictment there seems to be no indication there was ever any criminal intent – either individually or as part of a conspiracy -- to publicly expose a CIA operatives identity in violation of federal law. “It was proper for Mr. Libby to resign from his position while charges are pending against him. It is equally proper that politics be parked at the courthouse door so he may receive a fair trial. As the substance of the charges work their way through the court, I believe it is appropriate the Mr. Libby be giving the presumption of innocence like every American.” #####

Oct 27 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the withdrawal of Harriet Miers as a candidate for the Supreme Court. “Harriet Miers was a fine nominee to the Supreme Court. She’s an able lawyer and a role model for many young women. Many of the criticisms leveled against her were off-base and some were not respectful of the life she lived. She broke many glass ceilings and deserves credit for her many accomplishments. “Unfortunately, the confirmation process is very rough. She had legitimate concerns about the upcoming fight over access to White House documents. When the President appoints his lawyer to the Supreme Court, the Senate is going to want to know how she conducted herself as his counsel. Sensing this divide would be a difficult one to overcome, she decided to put the interests of the President above her own personal interests. I applaud her for making this tough decision and her willingness to serve her country. “I hope President Bush will again give serious consideration to selecting a woman to fill this vacancy. There are many well-qualified, strict constructionists who would serve our nation well on the Court.” #####

Oct 26 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $1.4 million in grants to fire departments across South Carolina. “Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,” said Graham. “These grants help fire departments save lives by providing the means to obtain the best equipment and training available.” “I’m pleased to announce these grants that are important to the brave firefighters that risk their lives for the families of South Carolina,” said Senator DeMint. The Operations and Firefighter Safety Program grant may be used for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities. The grants awarded include: Belvedere Belvedere Volunteer Fire Department will receive $93,413. Blacksburg Blacksburg Fire Department will receive $42,418. Cope Edisto Volunteer Fire Department will receive $38,067. Denmark Denmark Volunteer Fire Department will receive $69,037. Honea Path Honea Path Fire Department will receive $94,847. Lexington Lexington County Fire Service will receive $700,000. Moncks Corner Pimlico Rural Volunteer Fire Department will receive $45,867. Piedmont Piedmont Volunteer Fire Department will receive $147,748. Seneca Corinth-Shiloh Volunteer Fire Department will receive $190,028. Union City of Union Department of Public Safety will receive $73,530. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Oct 25 2005

WASHINGTON -- Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced proposed spending reductions to help pay for damages caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Graham and DeMint were joined in the effort by five of their colleagues including Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla) John Ensign (R-Nev.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and John Sununu (R-N.H.). “It’s unfair to stick future generations of Americans with the bill for solving problems that occur on our watch,” said Graham. “I’m proud to be a part of this long overdue effort to set better priorities in spending.” “We had a Category 4 hurricane hit our shores, but if we don’t address our runaway spending, we’re going to have a Category 5 fiscal storm hit our children and grandchildren,” said Senator DeMint. “The American people don’t want any more excuses, and they don’t want to hear congressmen and senators arguing about who is to blame. We have real problems that require tough decisions.” The proposed federal spending reductions include the following actions:
  • 5 percent reduction in all federal spending programs except those which impact national security, with 1 percent set aside for funding of essential programs.
  • A freeze on cost-of-living adjustments for federal employees, including Members of Congress, with the exception of law enforcement and military personnel.
  • An elimination of earmarked projects included as part of the Highway Bill.
  • A two-year delay in implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
  • A requirement that those with higher incomes pay higher Medicare Part B premiums in 2006, rather than in 2007 as currently scheduled.
  • The package of offsets proposed today could save the American taxpayers between $70 – 125 billion.
“We need bold leadership to set priorities and get our fiscal house in order,” said Senator DeMint. “Americans expect us to anticipate problems and fix them while we still can. That’s why we must offset this relief as a downpayment toward fiscal responsibility.” “Reducing federal spending will prevent additional borrowing and require Congress to do what all families and businesses have to do in their lives and that's set priorities,” said Graham. “The proposed spending reductions are a fair and necessary culture change for Congress.” ###