Sep 29 2006
SENATORS GRAHAM AND CLINTON ANNOUNCE CONGRESSIONAL PANEL BACKS NEW IMPROVEMENTS TO TRICARE BENEFITS FOR NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS AND RESERVISTS
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)Washington, DC - Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today announced that the Department of Defense Authorization bill conference report finalized today includes an amendment that will improve TRICARE benefits for National Guard members and Reservists, allowing all members of the Selected Reserve and their families to enroll in TRICARE with an across the board cost-sharing of 28 percent. Today’s victory builds on the Senators’ longstanding commitment to ensuring that members of our National Guard and Reserve and their families have access to the health care benefits they need and deserve. “I’m pleased that after three years of work the House and Senate have finally agreed to make military health care coverage available to every member of the Guard and Reserve,” said Graham. “This long overdue benefit will help our recruitment, retention, and readiness efforts for our stressed reserve component. Every reservist and their family will be able to enjoy continuity of care, whether they are called to active duty or not. I appreciate the support of Senator Clinton in this effort along with Senators DeWine, Leahy, Chambliss, Allen, Warner and Levin. Senator Clinton and I have been fortunate to have very good allies in this effort and Congress has stepped up to the plate to meet the health care needs of our Guard and Reserves.” “I am proud that we have taken another step forward for our National Guard members and Reservists and their families. All members of the Selected Reserve and their families will now have access to TRICARE benefits, at one modest premium rate, regardless of their deployment status. This is the right thing to do for these brave men and women who are serving courageously on our behalf. This will also help ensure that our National Guard members and Reservists are medically ready to serve, which is critical to improving our preparedness,” said Senator Clinton. Senators Graham and Clinton first proposed expanding access to TRICARE for Guard Members and Reservists in 2003 when they introduced the National Guard and Reserves Reform Act for the 21st Century. Since then, they have worked steadily toward this goal, steadily securing expansions in TRICARE benefits for Guardsmen and Reservists. Last year, Senators Clinton and Graham secured passage of an amendment to the DoD Authorization bill that made all members of the Selected Reserve eligible to enroll in TRICARE and created a separate category based on whether a Guard member or Reservist had been deployed. Category 1 for members of the Selected Reserves who had been activated: members would accumulate one year of TRICARE coverage for every 90 days of active duty service and would only have to pay 28 percent of the cost. Category 2 established a 50-50 cost share for those without health insurance due to unemployment or lack of employer-provided coverage. And Category 3 covered the remainder of members of the Selected Reserve who did not fit in the other categories, allowing them to buy into coverage at an 85 percent cost share. This built on expanded eligibility the Senators previously secured. In October 2004, legislation co-sponsored by Senators Graham and Clinton was signed into law as part of the Department of Defense Authorization bill which provided an extension of one additional year of TRICARE eligibility to Guard and Reserve members for every 90 days the Reservist or Guardsman serves. This expanded eligibility program went into effect at the Department of Defense in April 2005. The Graham-Clinton TRICARE efforts have gained support from many groups including the National Guard Association of the United States, the Reserve Officers Association, and the National Governors Association. The DoD Authorization bill conference report will now go to the Senate and House floors for approval and then to the President’s desk to be signed into law. ###
Sep 28 2006
Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have passed legislation he helped draft establishing the trials of terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and providing legal infrastructure for the War on Terror. The legislation will now be sent to President Bush for his signature. “From the beginning President Bush and I shared the same goal,” said Graham. “Now, I’m proud to say the President and a decisive majority in Congress agree on the path to get there. “I’m very pleased the military trials of terrorists -- which have been put on hold for years -- will finally be allowed to move forward and justice will be rendered,” said Graham. “We were able to give the President, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the military the tools they need to continue protecting us from a vicious enemy. We accomplish these goals without abandoning our national values, Geneva Convention obligations, or the rule of law.” Graham noted the major elements of the legislation include: * Protecting President Bush’s CIA program for High-Value Targets (HVT) by allowing aggressive interrogation techniques -- classified in nature -- that will continue to yield good information protecting us from terrorists. The legislation gives the CIA the clarity they needed regarding interrogation techniques and for the first time clearly defined what constitutes a ‘grave breach’ of the Geneva Convention. By accomplishing this goal, the CIA can move forward with their program in a manner consistent with our international obligations and our values. * Prohibiting terror suspects and others from suing CIA agents or their families for doing their jobs. * Prevents terror suspects from filing lawsuits in federal court. Federal judges will be allowed to conduct limited review of certain legal issues but will not be able to take over military decisions determining who is and who is not an enemy combatant. * Establishing military tribunals in a manner consistent with our national values and demonstrating America is rendering justice, not vengeance. The military tribunal system protects our nation’s secrets in an unprecedented manner while at the same time allowing defendants the ability to confront evidence against them. To do otherwise, would run the serious risk of the Supreme Court rejecting the legislation. The legislation achieves the correct balance between protecting our nation in this war without setting precedent that could jeopardize our troops in future wars. “The Supreme Court ruled terrorist enemy combatants were covered by the Geneva Convention,” said Graham. “While President Bush and I did not agree with their ruling it was incumbent upon us to comply with their decision. A conviction against a terror suspect in a military tribunal is no good if it is later overturned by the Supreme Court.” “I’m proud of the role I played in drafting the legislation and believe my years of military legal experience helped identify problem areas and bring about constructive solutions,” said Graham. “I would not have been doing my job as Senator if I saw a problem with the President’s proposal – which I did – and didn’t work to address it in a constructive manner. “I also do not believe judges should be making military decisions in a time of war,” said Graham. “There is a reason the Germans and Japanese in World War II, and every other prisoner held by America, have never gone to federal court and asked a judge to determine their status. This is not a role the judiciary should be playing. They are not trained to make those decisions.” “I’m tremendously pleased with the overwhelming support for the compromise,” said Graham. “The legislative and executive branches have now come together in a decisive fashion to provide the legal infrastructure necessary to fight and win the War on Terror. However, I will not be completely satisfied until our work product is approved by the judiciary. They are the final piece of the puzzle. I hope and believe they will look favorably upon our work.” #####
Sep 28 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging will receive a $400,000 grant to help fund the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center. The grant will help improve long term care options for seniors and people with disabilities. “Long-term care is a critical need for our state,” said Graham. “I know this grant will be put to good use by helping the Office on Aging continue its important work on behalf of senior citizens in our state.” The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####
Sep 28 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the China tariff legislation. Graham and Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) agreed to withdraw a vote on their 27.5 percent tariff legislation and agreed to work with the two ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Montana), on legislation to be introduced in the 110th Congress. Graham made this statement: “After conferring with President Bush today, I’m convinced the Administration is committed to a strategy that will require China to reform its currency manipulation practices. President Bush made clear to me today that he would like to give Secretary Paulson time to negotiate with the Chinese. The President also made clear that he shares my goal of making China compete on a level playing field. “Senator Schumer and I have agreed, at this time, to forego a vote on our tariff legislation. We also have agreed to work with Senators Grassley and Baucus on legislation in the 110th Congress addressing the issue if the Chinese do not move forward on currency reform. The legislation will be WTO compliant, have bite, and will become law if China continues down its current path. “The tariff legislation, whose chance of becoming law was always close to zero, did serve a useful purpose. As a result of our efforts, the Chinese no longer peg their currency to the American dollar. They have also begun a process of small revaluations -- totaling about 4 percent -- to occur. “More remains to be done and we will continue in our efforts to help American manufacturers compete on a level playing field.” #####
Sep 21 2006
Wes Hickman 202-224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on a deal reached between the Bush Administration and U.S. Senators. The deal allows the terrorism trials of suspected terrorists to go forward at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It protects President Bush’s CIA program for High-Value Targets (HVT), addresses the use of classified information in the trials of terrorists, and upholds our nation’s long standing commitment to the Geneva Conventions. It also prohibits terror suspects from filing lawsuits in federal court against American troops and protects CIA agents from frivolous lawsuits. Graham said: “From the beginning we all shared the same goal. Now, we agree on the path to get there. “I’m very pleased with the productive negotiations we had with the White House. We fine-tuned the President’s proposal and have a much stronger work product than we did when we started. I appreciate the good faith negotiating done by Steve Hadley and Steve Bradbury. They are excellent advocates for President Bush and I appreciate their willingness to listen, understand, and work with us to address our concerns. “President Bush and I want to put terrorists on trial for their actions before, on, and after 9-11. We also want to protect our nation from future attacks. However we must do so in a manner consistent with our laws, values, and traditions. The legislation we put together accomplishes these objectives. Major Points of the Agreement: “The Supreme Court, in a decision I found troubling, decided to apply Geneva Convention protections to the War on Terror. Their decision is binding, but they gave Congress and the Administration wide latitude on its implementation. “It was a false choice to think we had to choose between protecting the CIA program and abandoning our Geneva Convention obligations. It was also a false choice to think that we could not protect national security if we allowed a tribunal defendant to confront classified evidence against them. I think our legislation shows we are able to accomplish both objectives. “We allow an effective and aggressive CIA program designed to gather good information to protect us from the terrorists to continue. The program will operate in a manner that will not put our troops in jeopardy today or in future wars by redefining or weakening our Geneva Convention protections. “We also allow a terror suspect to confront the evidence against them while protecting national security by using rules and procedures already in place in our military justice system. The trials of terror suspects will be conducted in a manner unprecedented in American history. They will provide the strongest protections for classified information, but do so in a manner that will not convict someone without them ever knowing the evidence. The Supreme Court: “Our efforts to put terror suspects on trial, gain convictions, and carry out a sentence are now two-thirds complete. The last hurdle – the Supreme Court -- will eventually judge whether our work product is constitutional. I think the fine-tuning done during negotiations give us a much better chance of passing constitutional muster. Conclusion: “Finally, I would not have been doing my job as Senator if I saw a problem with the President’s proposal – which I did – and didn’t work to address it in a constructive manner. I said it from the start, a conviction against a terror suspect in a military tribunal is no good if it is later overturned by the Supreme Court. “As a nation, we will be better served by taking a few extra days and doing the best job we can to ensure the work product will withstand constitutional scrutiny. If the Supreme Court again strikes the tribunal process down, it will send us back to the drawing board. More importantly, justice will once again be delayed against those who have committed terrible acts against our nation. #####
Sep 20 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the city of Manning will receive a $879,600 loan and a $50,000 grant to construct a 6,400 square foot addition to the city’s fire station.
The loan and grant were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Sep 20 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) will receive a $10,790,377 grant to support cardiovascular research. MUSC is one of eleven schools throughout the country to receive funding as a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. The funds will support the Center for Developmentally Based Cardiovascular Diseases. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health. ####
Sep 20 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced Horry-Georgetown Technical College will receive a $1.5 million grant to support the renovation of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Hospital to serve as a regional Healthcare Education Center. The project will involve the conversion and renovation of the existing three-story shell of the former Base Hospital into a state-of-the-art Healthcare Education Center providing training programs for Grand Strand residents in nursing and allied health programs. This facility renovation will allow the addition and expansion of health professions training to meet the need of the region’s growing and understaffed health care sector. The renovated training facility will house nearly 52,000 square feet of instructional, meeting and office space. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, will be matched with $5.8 million in local funds. ####
Sep 20 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the Housing Authority of the City of Aiken will receive a $394,200 loan and a $100,000 grant for the construction of a community services building in Gloverville.
The building will provide space for community services including housing programs and Head Start.
The loan and grant were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.