Oct 03 2007

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today approved an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) to provide $3 billion for increased border security and interior enforcement measures.  The measure passed 95-1. 



“In the age of terrorism, regaining operational control of our nation’s borders is a national security issue of the highest order,” said Graham.  “The term ‘operational control’ is a military term, and I look at this effort to secure our border as a military operation.  We are serious about border security and this again shows the commitment to do whatever is necessary to regain control of our borders."


“There is no doubt we need better border security at our southern border including more boots on the ground, more miles of fencing, better technology which acts as a force multiplier, additional detention beds, and unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Graham.  “My amendment provides funding for these important and much-needed changes in federal policy.”


Graham sponsored the amendment along with Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona).


"The U.S. has come a long way in its efforts to secure the border," said Kyl.  "For example, the number of Border Patrol agents has increased from approximately 4,000 to 15,000 by the end of 2007.  And, last year, Congress gave DHS an extra $1.2 billion to construct fencing and other vehicular barriers in FY2007.  But there is still so much left to do.  This amendment provides an additional $3 billion in emergency funding for FY2008 to protect the border, enhance interior enforcement, including at the workplace, and detain more illegal immigrants who have either committed crimes or who are in the process of being removed from the U.S. for immigration violations."


The Graham Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill and Homeland Security Appropriations bill:


  • Establishes operational control over the entire US border.



    Provides funding to construct 700 miles of fencing.



    Provides funding to procure Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), ground sensors, vehicle barriers.



    Increases the ability to detain immigrants for overstaying their visas and committing other crimes.



    Provides funding for states and localities that undergo training to assist the Federal government in enforcing immigration law.


The Graham Amendment mirrors a provision Graham introduced and passed in July as part of the Fiscal Year 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations bill by a vote of 89-1.



“I want the $3 billion to become law and this will increase the odds of that happening,” said Graham.  “Right now, there appears to be more bipartisan agreement on the Defense Appropriations bill and it stands a much better chance of being signed into law.  I have concerns Democrats in the House of Representatives will strip the $3 billion for border security from the Homeland Security bill when it goes to conference, or change the bill in ways that force a presidential veto.”




Oct 03 2007



OCTOBER 3, 2007




Back to this developing situation in the skies near Alaska . Only yesterday, we showed you new videotape of U.S. jets intercepting Russian bombers wandering dangerously close to U.S. airspace.  A rare look now from the cockpit of an F-15.  


Now, the Air Force has been dealing with these stray bombers since August.  And U.S. defense officials say these incidents are on the rise, adding they have not seen this many Russian flights this close since the Cold War.  

Lindsey Graham, Republican senator, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, with me now from D.C.

Senator, good morning, and welcome back.



Good morning, Bill.



Help me with this.  What does Russia get out of these flights, Senator?  



Well, it's -- they have this view that they're re-emerging as a stronger power but actually they're diminishing themselves.  

You know, this idea of re-engaging America and the West in a Cold War mentality is a big loser for Russia .  They're trying to intimidate their neighbors who are joining in NATO.  These flights are just a kind of a flex-the-muscle approach to foreign policy.  That's not going to work.  

Every institution in Russia has been degraded under Putin:  the legal system, the parliament, the press.  So this is becoming a autocratic country, much to the, I think, detriment of the Russian people.  



You used a word in there.  You said "diminished."  Why are they diminished?



Well, because Putin has rolled back democratic reforms.  These flights have not occurred since 1992.  He is trying to now run for prime minister.  He's diminished the Duma, the parliament, when he was president.  The legal system is pretty much of a joke.  The press has no freedom in Russia .  They censor reports about their government.  And these flights are just another saber-rattling episode.  

He's fishing in a stream without a shirt.  It's kind of like the whole country's going through a mid-life crisis.



Well, that's a statement right out of South Carolina , I must add there.  


You don't seem to be concerned about this, do you?



I'm not.  I'm not, because I know the strength of our country is the institutions we have are bigger than personalities.  

We should be concerned about Russia , but not afraid.  

Remember the bear in the wood commercial that Ronald Reagan ran in 1980 against the Soviet Union ?  



I sure do.



Well, this is a cub in the woods.  

Russia is really a weak, struggling country trying to have bravado through one man that is short sighted.  They could be a very key player in the international community, a constructive force.  They could help us with Iran .  But they're choosing to go a different path.  And that will result in a weaker Russia over time.  

So we have to convince them...



With global energy prices, too, one argue that their economy's on the boost too, and they're creating billionaires by the day over there in Moscow .








Another topic now:  The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is hitting hard back at Rush Limbaugh.  And I know you've heard the back- and-forth between Limbaugh and what has being said in the Senate and Media Matters, this group that really put the headline on the story two days ago.  


What are we to make of the back-and-forth and why the Senate is taking the position it is, at least on the Democratic side?  




We can clearly understand that the MoveOn.org ad really stunned the Democrats, and they're trying to create a bogeyman on the right to make up for what was clearly an effort by the left to diminish and to bring into question the patriotism of General Petraeus.




So you're saying the Betray-Us ad, this is payback because of that.




Well, it's an attempt at payback.  But from what I can see, based on the record available to us, Rush Limbaugh was talking about two people who claimed to be in Iraq when they were not, who claimed to be participating in atrocities that never occurred,  And they're trying to spin that out into something else.  And it's feeble attempt to change the subject.  




Lindsey Graham, thank you for your time. 




Thank you.

Oct 03 2007

Audio of Senator Graham discussing the $3 billion in border security funding is available at this location.  The Graham Amendment passed the Senate today by a vote of 95-1.



Oct 02 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on the threat by the House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) to not pass a new war funding bill until early next year and condition it on a goal of January 2009 for an end to U.S. combat operations in Iraq .


Graham made this statement:


“Such a position is the height of irresponsibility, particularly in a time of war.  The Al Qaeda fighters being run out of Anbar and Diyala Provinces because of the surge would cheer on a congressional cutoff of funding.  The very dangerous regime in Tehran, which seeks to develop nuclear weapons and dominate the entire region, would stand and applaud America’s lack of resolve to establish a stable government in Iraq .  I hope Chairman Obey revisits this ill-conceived position.”




Sep 27 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today will vote against the conference report on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  The legislation is expected to pass the Senate.  The House of Representatives has already passed SCHIP and President Bush has said he will veto it when it reaches his desk.

“I was very concerned when the SCHIP program was created in 1997 it would eventually be expanded beyond its original purpose,” said Graham.  “From the start, there were worries SCHIP could serve as the first brick in the road to national health care.  Sure enough, a decade later, Congress will expand the program and add dozens of new bricks on the pathway toward government-run, government-controlled national health care.”



Graham noted several problems with the SCHIP legislation including:


  • The expanded SCHIP program moves our nation closer to a single-payer, government-run, government-controlled national health care system.


  • The SCHIP program, created in 1997, was originally designed to provide health insurance to low-income children.  Under the new expansion, the program will now cover adults and families earning as much as $82,600 a year. This year 13 percent of SCHIP funds will go to adults, not low-income children.


  • The program encourages people to move from private health insurance to government-funded health insurance.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 2 million individuals who are currently insured will move from private insurance to government insurance. 


“There are many very serious problems with this legislation,” said Graham.  “This bill doubles the cost of the SCHIP program and is a giant step toward nationalized healthcare.  In addition, no longer are we just covering low-income children, but adults can now join the program.  Finally, we encourage families to drop private insurance and join the government program.  This is a very bad day for our health care system and the American taxpayer.”





Sep 26 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Gresham Barrett have secured final Congressional approval for a long-delayed development project at Lake Russell .



Last night, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007(WRDA).  The legislation instructs the federal government to sell approximately 600 acres of land around Lake Russell to the state of South Carolina .  The land will be combined with other state held lands and developed to include a hotel, conference center, marina and housing.  The development will create jobs and spur growth in an economically-depressed area.



“This project represents the economic development model of the future,” said Graham.  “A public-private venture that will respect the area’s environment while bringing a much needed economic boost to the region.  I want to thank Gresham Barrett for his leadership in shepherding this through the House.  I look forward to seeing this project through to its completion.  It’s been in the works for about a decade and I’m glad we are finally getting close to moving this project forward.”



“I am glad to see the Lake Russell project come successfully through the House and the Senate, putting a partnership in place that is a win-win for everyone,” said Congressman Barrett.  “I appreciate the efforts by Senator Graham to ensure this project was included in the final legislation.  With each step we move closer to a successful conclusion.  This project has been a long time coming – it will bring economic development to the region and the state while ensuring Lake Russell is protected and preserved in its natural state.”



WRDA was passed by the House of Representatives in August.





Sep 25 2007

Graham and Brown applaud passage of WRDA

Bill Authorizes More Than $76 Million for 1st District Projects

WASHINGTON -- Today, Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 which will provide for significant improvements to our nation’s water resources and water infrastructure.  Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Henry E. Brown, Jr., voted with a strong bipartisan majority to pass this critically important legislation.  Brown was a member of the Conference Committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill.  The bill authorizes more than $76 million for infrastructure projects in Charleston and the Grand Strand.


“After many years of work on this bill, I was pleased to see this legislation take another critical step towards becoming law,” said Brown.  “Working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, we were able to work out a compromise plan that both houses can agree to, as well as provide for necessary projects for coastal South Carolina .  Improving infrastructure is not a partisan issue, it is a commitment we as a nation must ensure is met, and I was pleased to see such strong bipartisan support for this bill.  I want to thank Senator Graham for his efforts in support of this legislation.”



“The South Carolina projects authorized in this bill are much needed to promote health, safety, and economic development,” said Graham.  “I appreciate Congressman Brown’s leadership in shepherding these meritorious projects through the House.  There is still much work to be done in the authorization and appropriation process.  We must create a system that allows transparency and reduces the ability of lawmakers to subvert the open process and slip wasteful spending into worthwhile bills.  I am proud of the funding Congressman Brown and I have secured, and ask my colleagues to publicly stand by their projects as well. ”



Included in the Conference Report were several projects sought by local communities to give the Army Corps the tools to improve the environment, conduct critical drainage improvements, and reduce coastal storm damage throughout the Grand Strand and Charleston Regions.  The efforts of Congressman Brown and Senator Graham resulted in increased authorization levels for these projects: 


  • $18 million to accelerate the continued installation of ocean outfalls in Myrtle Beach: As part of the City’s Pavilion Master Plan, an ocean outfall system for Myrtle Beach will retain, clean, and then discharge storm water offshore, replacing the current system, which dumps untreated storm water directly onto the beach.  The City has already invested $15 million into this project.


  • $16 million to continue progress on replacement of the Charleston Wastewater Tunnels: For several years, the Charleston Water System has been conducting a phased replacement of the city’s wastewater carrier tunnels.  These nearly 40-year-old structures lying beneath the city and the harbor were deteriorating at a rapid pace, putting the entire region under the risk of a severe environmental disaster, given that the tunnel system carries over 10 million gallons of wastewater on a daily basis.  While largely financed by the Water System, the federal support authorized in this legislation will assist with efforts to move ahead with Phase II of the project, which involves replacing portions of the Cooper River and Ashley River Tunnels in Downtown Charleston. 


  • $16.44 million to support storm damage reduction and beach renourishment in Pawleys Island Funds authorized under this project will allow for the construction of a 6,800 foot sand berm along the southern reach of Pawleys Island .  This will have a significant impact on reducing future hurricane and storm damage to the surrounding beach and community.  Additionally, the project provides for a 50-year commitment by the Federal government to provide for beach renourishment.


  • $11 million towards efforts by North Myrtle Beach to replace its current stormwater drainage system with a system of ocean outfalls: The ocean outfall system will ensure that swimmers do not come into contact with dangerous bacteria and will assist with efforts to reduce flooding and beach renourishment needs by carrying rainfall runoff to a point offshore.  Federal support for this project follows $12 million in local investment by North Myrtle Beach .


  • $11 million for ocean outfalls projects in Surfside Beach : Included in this authorization is critical support for efforts by the Town of Surfside Beach to replace an existing ocean outfall, including construction of a new headwall and weir.  The replacement of this outfall, along with efforts by the town to expand its existing outfall system, are strategic for ensuring that the Town continues its past history of meeting water quality mandates before they are required. 


  • $4 million to allow the City of Charleston to move forward with the Spring
    Street/Fishburne Street
    Drainage Project
    The Spring Street/Fishburne Street drainage basin encompasses approximately 500 acres, or about twenty percent of the Charleston peninsula and is traversed by U.S. Highway 17, which due to current conditions can be made impassable to passenger vehicles by moderate rainfall.


“A modern and well-functioning infrastructure is a key component to economic development, and serves to protect our health and safety,” said Graham.  “Projects authorized in this bill are critical to protecting the health and well being of people in South Carolina and throughout the country.”


“Each of these projects is critical to protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of the entire region,” said Representative Brown, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House.  “While this bill does not on its own provide funding, it ensures that these projects will be on the list of priorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”






Sep 24 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement following Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks at Columbia University.
Graham said:
“I regret that this extremist leader was given such a platform, and it is my hope that the world will understand and appreciate the radical nature of the current Iranian regime.  Ahmadinejad supports the destruction of the state of Israel.  We would be making a huge mistake miscalculating the Iranian threat to Israel and the region.
“His performance today should reinforce the international community’s desire to impose sanctions against Iran for their efforts to develop a nuclear weapons program.  If we act decisively now, with one voice, we could save the world a lot of heartache in the future.”

Sep 21 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Levin-Reed amendment which would have begun withdrawing American troops from Iraq in 120 days and requires the removal of most U.S. troops within the next nine months.

The amendment failed by a vote of 47-47, 13 votes shy of the 60 needed for passage.

"Levin-Reed was a case of armchair generals in Congress substituting their collective military judgment for that of General Petraeus. .

"The Levin-Reed amendment, had it passed, would not have been welcomed news by our troops on the battlefield. Our enemies, on the other hand, are suffering mightily under the Petraeus strategy and would have rejoiced over this dramatic reversal in policy.

"At a time when we should be building on the momentum of the Petraeus surge, Levin-Reed would have undercut it. Levin-Reed took us back to the old, failed strategy which clearly did not work. I’m very pleased the Senate rejected this ill-advised change in U.S. policy."


Sep 19 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today took to the floor to speak against an amendment offered by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) giving terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba expanded access to file lawsuits in federal courts.


Less than an hour later, the U.S. Senate defeated the Specter-Leahy amendment on a 43-56 procedural vote.  Sixty votes were required to move forward.


In 2005 and 2006, Graham played a leading role in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act (MCA) respectively.  The laws set forth the procedures for determining enemy combatant status, a very limited federal court review of military detention, and the procedures for the trial of the most dangerous terrorists by military tribunal.  Graham authored a provision which denies terrorists the right to file habeas corpus rights.  Enemy combatants have used habeas petitions to demand faster mail delivery, high speed internet access, and even to allege medical malpractice and demand millions in punitive and compensatory damages from our troops.  These laws ensure that federal courts do not take over the military decision of determining who is and is not an enemy combatant.


“Never in the history of warfare have enemy prisoners been able to bring lawsuits about their detention,” said Graham.  “Thousands of Germans and Japanese soldiers were captured and held by the military during World War II. Not one case was allowed in federal court where they were allowed to sue for their release. Our rules for the War on Terror should be no different.”


Under the Specter-Leahy amendment, enemy combatant terror suspects would have expanded rights to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court challenging their detention. It would also fundamentally weaken the rules governing military tribunals.


“The decision of determining who is an enemy combatant belongs with the military, not federal judges,” said Graham.  “Judges are not trained to determine who presents a threat to our nation. That is why Congress has only provided for a limited procedural review of combatant status determination.


“Before the MCA was signed into law, enemy combatants were filing frivolous suits requesting better mail delivery, more exercise, judge-supervised interrogation, Internet access, the right to view DVDs and alleging medical malpractice," said Graham. "We also made it clear in the MCA terror suspects could not sue American troops for doing their job.  The MCA protects our troops and national security while living up to our international commitments and obligations.


“It's time we put terror suspects on trial before military tribunals for their crimes against the United States ," said Graham. "If we begin tinkering with provisions of the MCA, it will slow efforts to bring terrorists to justice.  Some of the masterminds of the 9/11 attack on America are being held at Guantanamo Bay .  I'm ready to see them stand trial and suffer the consequences of their actions against the United States . It's time for justice to be served, not delayed.


“I cannot think of a better way to undercut the War on Terror than to adopt the theory that Al Qaeda members are common criminals, not global warriors,” concluded Graham.