Sep 19 2006
Urge Schwab to ensure that the U.S. textile industry can remain competitive
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Dole and Lindsey Graham wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab yesterday, calling on her to defend the American textile industry from countries that engage in unfair trade practices, specifically expressing their concerns about the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral agreement. Dole and Graham have placed holds on legislation that would authorize the president to grant permanent normal trade relations status to Vietnam, which would pave the way for Vietnam to join the World Trade Organization. Dole and Graham are concerned about the potential negative impact that this agreement could have on Carolina textile jobs. “We believe that unless the government takes specific steps to ensure that the U.S. textile industry can be defended against a communist country that heavily subsidizes its textile and apparel sector, this agreement is likely to cause large-scale job losses in both of our states,” wrote Dole and Graham to Schwab. “We believe that it would be unreasonable to ask U.S. workers to compete with products manufactured under a state-run economy without at least providing an adequate mechanism for the industry to defend itself.” Dole and Graham pointed out that like China, Vietnam has a large and heavily subsidized textile sector that utilizes anti-free market principles to under-price producers in the United States. Vietnam is already one of the world’s largest exporters of textiles and apparel, and Commerce Department data confirms that Vietnam is the second largest supplier of apparel products that have been removed from quota control. Over the past five and a half years, Vietnam has increased its apparel exports by 1,186 percent in quota-free apparel categories. Dole and Graham urged Schwab to closely review all of the possible solutions to this problem and pledged to work closely with her on the issue. “The Carolinas are the heart of our nation’s textile industry… We want to ensure that this strong manufacturing tradition continues and that this industry will offer stable, good-paying jobs to our constituents well into the future,” wrote Dole and Graham. Background On May 31, the United States formalized an agreement that would pave the way for Vietnam to formally join the 149-member World Trade Organization (WTO). Congress must still vote on the WTO accession agreement for Vietnam. ###
Sep 19 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the State of South Carolina will receive more than $10.5 million in housing grants. The grants will be administered by the Office of Community Grant Programs. The awards consist of $10,348,521 for the HOME Investment Partnership Program and $192,628 for the American Dream Downpayment Initiative.
- The HOME Investment Partnership Program creates affordable housing for low-income households. It allows communities to design and implement strategies tailored to their own needs and priorities.
- The American Dream Downpayment Initiative promotes home ownership opportunities by providing downpayment and closing cost assistance to low-income and minority households.
Sep 18 2006
Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement: “The parties continue to share ideas with each other. Like all negotiations, this is and will continue to be a back-and-forth exchange of thoughts and proposals. I look forward to continuing to work with the White House and my Senate colleagues on addressing this important issue facing our nation. We share the President’s goal of enacting legislation preserving an effective CIA program to make us safe, upholding Geneva Convention protections for our troops, and passing constitutional muster.” #####
Sep 15 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)Washington, DC - This morning, the United States and Russia signed an agreement that formally resolves liability issues which delayed construction of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS). In 2000, the U.S. and Russia each agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus, weapons-grade plutonium by turning it into MOX fuel for use in existing commercial nuclear reactors. The MOX program is the most cost effective manner for converting excess weapons-grade plutonium into forms unusable for weapons by terrorists. Members of the South Carolina and Georgia delegations have worked tirelessly to overcome this hurdle. Having met with officials from the White House, the State Department, the Department of Energy, and the National Nuclear Security Administration the delegation made it clear that all the issues needed to be resolved so the program can move forward. "The events of today are the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by my colleagues and me," said Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-SC, 3). "This announcement is huge news for the MOX program, the Site, the state and the nation. It is further proof that the Administration joins the South Carolina and Georgia delegations in strong support of the MOX program, which is vital to our national security. I am confident that this news will alleviate any doubts that may exist in the minds of some as to the commitment behind the program. The agreement helps put all the pieces of the puzzle together and solves a major issue surrounding the delays in the MOX program. I look forward to working through the appropriation process to ensure that the US commitment is fulfilled." "This is great news for the future of SRS and the United States," said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). "The MOX program will play an essential national security role in the decades to come. I appreciate the dedication of the Bush Administration and the Department of State to see these negotiations through to the end. I appreciate the work of my congressional colleagues from South Carolina and Georgia for their efforts to keep this issue at the forefront. We remain committed to seeing the MOX program fully funded and operational." "This roadblock being removed shows a strong commitment on the part of both countries to move forward," said U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). "I'm going to continue to push for the U.S. to fulfill its commitment and proceed with the funding of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility." "One of the reasons why the MOX facility is so important is that it will help both countries make great strides toward keeping weapons-grade plutonium out of the hands of terrorists," said U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). "I know the hard working professionals at Savannah River Site are ready and able to start work on the facility as soon as possible." "We have a world class facility in the Savannah River Site, and the agreement reached today is huge step forward," said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, (R-GA). "I am confident the Georgia and South Carolina delegations will continue to work hard to ensure that the MOX program is funded and operational as soon as possible." "In reaching an agreement today with Russia, we have taken a vital step in moving the MOX program forward. Our commitment to waste cleanup at the Savannah River Site remains strong, and I am confident that today's news will aid our efforts to expedite construction of the MOX facility and secure future funding," said Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC, 2). "This clears the final hurdle for getting the MOX facility up and going at SRS. I look forward to immediately passing whatever additional measures are necessary to bring it to completion. This is a tremendous step forward for not just the CSRA, but the entire nation in national security, independence from foreign oil, and prevention of nuclear terrorism," said Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-GA, 9). ###
Sep 15 2006
Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Presidential news conference. Graham also released the contents of a letter addressed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking for clarification of the United States response should a situation arise involving a CIA paramilitary operative captured in Iran and placed on trial in that country. Graham said: “This is a time for thoughtful, reasoned discussions. What we do today will affect the nation not only in our current war but in future wars as well. “President Bush is sincere in wanting the tools necessary to protect the nation, including a viable CIA program. I share that goal and will provide those tools without eroding Geneva Convention protections necessary in this and future wars. “The Senate legislation, for the first time, clearly defines what would be criminal conduct by the CIA in the War on Terror. “It gives the CIA guidance that is long overdue. It also prevents CIA agents and their families from being sued for performing their duties on behalf of the nation. “The legislation clearly states the only law used to create civil or criminal liability for the CIA will be American law, not foreign law. “The legislation clears up confusion in American criminal law regarding detainee treatment standards and I am very proud of that fact. “Protecting CIA agents and programs from ill-defined criminal prosecution and legal liability is something all Americans should strive to achieve. The Senate bill achieves these goals without destroying Geneva Convention protections for our troops. “Weakening the Geneva Convention protections is an unnecessary step and will put our military members and others defending our nation at risk by jeopardizing the protections they currently are provided. “What is being billed as ‘clarifying’ our treaty obligations will be seen as ‘withdrawing’ from the treaty obligations. It will set precedent which could come back to haunt us. ######
Sep 15 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on legislation which passed the Senate Armed Services Committee establishing tribunals for suspected terrorists. Graham voted in support of the legislation which passed the Committee by a vote of 15-9. “First off, let me say that I have a great deal of respect for President Bush and the job he has done leading our nation in the War on Terror. My goal in the tribunal legislation is to ensure the policies we put in place can withstand judicial scrutiny, protect American troops in future conflicts, and live up to the values our nation has adhered to for generations. “A conviction against a terror suspect is no good if it is later overturned by the Supreme Court. We don’t need to resort to bizarre legal theories to convict the terrorists. Frankly, we’ve done a better job of keeping the terrorists out of court than their own lawyers with all the legal challenges which have been upheld by federal courts. “Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, the Administration ought to rely, as much as possible, on what has been tried and true. I would like to put one of these terrorists on trial in my lifetime. On the Legislative Process: “The House of Representatives has moved legislation establishing military tribunals and it is important the Senate act as well. While the Senate Armed Services Committee has passed a version which does not have the full backing of the White House, I will continue to discuss our approach with them. At some point in the future, the House, Senate, and President will have to come to some agreement we can all accept to move the process forward. The Senate Legislation: “The Senate legislation passed today allows the military trials of terrorists to begin, ensures that American troops cannot be sued in federal court by terror suspects in our custody, and establishes a legal framework for continued prosecution of the War on Terror. It also allows the CIA program, supported by the President and me, to continue protecting America. “The CIA program is an important program and our legislation does nothing to stop or impede that program from continued operation. I disagree with any suggestion to the contrary. “I desperately want to hold terrorists accountable for the acts they have committed against the nation on and since 9/11. They need to be brought to justice. However we must ensure we do so in a manner using policies and procedures that can withstand judicial scrutiny. “One area of contention is the use of classified information provided to a terror suspect and what an acquittal in a tribunal would mean. “Generals and Admirals from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps have shown us the way to address the issue of classified information using procedures already in military law. Under the Senate proposal, the government does not have to give classified information to the defense. The military judge can order summarized or redacted versions of the classified information to be used at trial. However, as the military lawyers have suggested the accused must be provided the evidence the jury uses to convict. Without such a provision, the trial would fail because of the inability to confront evidence. “There is one other point on which much confusion exists. “Even if a terrorist is acquitted by a military tribunal, that does not mean they will be released from military prison. They remain enemy combatants. The decision to release an enemy combatant is made by the Annual Review Board (ARB), which is already established and in operation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Supreme Court and Geneva Conventions: “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. The Convention has been strongly supported by our nation in every war since the 1940s. It is there to protect our troops and we do not need to withdraw from its terms and conditions to win the current and future wars. Conclusion: “While I agree with President Bush on the vast majority of the provisions in the legislation before the Congress establishing military tribunals, we do have some differences. The 10 percent we disagree on involves significant areas that could determine whether our work product is declared to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. “If these issues are not resolved in an appropriate manner, we could also place our troops serving abroad in unnecessary jeopardy for future wars. I stand ready, willing and able to bridge the handful of differences we have. I know our American troops, those who lost loved ones on 9/11 and in the global War on Terror, are counting on us to get it right this time.” ######
Sep 14 2006
AS SEC PAULSON BEGINS ASIA TRIP, SCHUMER-GRAHAM FORMALLY REQUEST FLOOR TIME FOR VOTE ON CHINA TRADE BILL
For First Time Since Agreement Last April When Bill Got 67 Votes on Procedural Measure, Senators Request Up-Or-Down Vote
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today formally submitted their request to Senate leadership for a vote on the Schumer-Graham Free Trade Act. Last April, The Schumer-Graham legislation received 67 votes on a procedural vote and is scheduled for an up-or-down vote before September 30th. Schumer and Graham’s letter today formally requests floor time by the end of this month. “We’ve been very patient, but have seen little progress,” Senator Schumer said. “The Senate will be voting on our bill if China doesn’t make a significant move very soon. Time is running out. I hope that Hank returns with tangible results, but if the disconnect between China’s rhetoric and actions is any guide, we’ll have no choice but to call for a vote.” “Senator Schumer and I have been patient and flexible,” said Senator Graham. “We agreed to delay a vote on our legislation on three separate occasions. Most recently, in March we agreed to delay a vote for six additional months to give the Chinese additional time to revalue their currency. We have been determined and we have been reasonable. Now, the date of our promised vote is approaching and we are sorely disappointed with China’s pace of reform.” The Schumer-Graham Bill (S. 295) allows for a 180-day negotiation period between the United States and China on currency revaluation; if the negotiations are not successful, a temporary across the board tariff of 27.5% will be applied to all Chinese products entering the United States. If the President certifies to Congress within 180 days of enactment that China has made a good-faith effort to revalue its currency upward, he may delay the imposition of the tariffs for an additional 180 days. If at the end of that 180-day period the President determines that China has developed and started actual implementation of a plan to revalue its currency, the President may delay imposition of the tariffs for an additional 12 months. The text of the letter is below: September 14, 2006 The Honorable William H. Frist Senate Majority Leader 509 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 The Honorable Harry Reid Senate Minority Leader 528 Hart Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Majority Leader Frist and Minority Leader Reid: We are writing to you today to formally request specific time for floor debate and a vote on our China currency legislation, S. 295. The Senate committed to a vote under the unanimous consent agreement reached in April 2005, and the time has come for us to move forward on our bill. As you know, on April 6, 2005, we offered the text of S. 295 as an amendment to the State Department authorization bill. A motion was made to table our amendment, which failed by a 33-67 margin. Majorities of both parties, as well as majorities on both the Banking and Finance committees, voted against the tabling motion. At the time, we agreed via unanimous consent to delay the vote on S. 295 until the end of July 2005, provided that we receive two hours of debate and an up-or-down vote with no amendments. We also agreed not to offer our bill as an amendment to any other legislative vehicle. Since then, to show our willingness to be flexible and patient, we agreed to delay our vote on three separate occasions. Most recently, in March we agreed to delay a vote for six additional months to give the Chinese additional time to revalue their currency. In short, while we have been determined, we have also been reasonable. Now, the date in the agreement is approaching, and we are sorely disappointed with China’s pace of currency reform. In remarks preceding his trip to China, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson stated that, “with [China’s] leadership comes responsibility.” China has clearly failed to live up to its international obligations. Since July 2005, when China allowed the yuan to appreciate by 2.1 percent and promised to allow market forces to work, the currency has only appreciated by an additional two percent. In this period, the trade deficit with China continued to accelerate. In August alone, our deficit with China reached $18.8 billion, 33 percent greater than at the same time last year. Despite China’s rhetoric that revaluing their currency will destabilize their economy, we have seen quite the opposite. China’s economy is currently growing at an 11 percent annual rate, and its inflation rate has only been 1.3 percent over the last year. Therefore, we respectfully request that you schedule floor time for debate and a vote on S. 295, as early during the week of September 25 as possible. In addition, given the importance and visibility of the issue, we also ask that you abide by your earlier assurance that the vote on S. 295 not be one of the last orders of business before Congress adjourns for the 2006 elections. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Charles E. Schumer Lindsey O. Graham
Sep 12 2006
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the Senate has approved $92 million for South Carolina related defense projects. Graham and DeMint secured the funding in the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Appropriations Bill. The Senators voted for the bill, which passed 98-0. “South Carolina’s contributions to the War on Terror and the defense of our nation are unparalleled,” said Graham. “South Carolinians serve in uniform in great numbers, and our industries are on the cutting edge of technology, providing the armed forces with the best equipment made. I am proud to join with Senator DeMint to secure funding for these worthy projects and I applaud my colleagues for passing a responsible bill that will ensure America’s military remains the best trained and best equipped fighting force in the world.” "South Carolina continues to lead the nation in developing and manufacturing state of the art equipment to ensure our troops remain the best equipped force in the world," said Senator DeMint. "This bill will ensure our military has the tools necessary to secure America's homeland. I'm proud of the noble work by our men and women in uniform and of South Carolina's long history in supporting their missions." South Carolina related projects include: LOWCOUNTRY:
- $6 million for the purchase of Quadruple Specialty Containers produced in Charleston.
- $5 million for the development of the Joint Threat Warning System, an air communication surveillance system that provides direct warning to aircrafts operating over hostile territory, enhancing situational awareness and increasing aircrew survivability and the probability of mission success. Development is based in Charleston.
- $4 million for the development and integration of Electronic Warfare (EW)/Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) System which will provide the Marines’ ability to fight the war on terror. Development is based in Charleston.
- $3 million for Air Operations Combat Support (AOCS) to provide war-planners with the first automated tool to determine the available combat air assets. Development is based in Charleston.
- $2 million for The Masking Shunt. The Masking Shunt is a layer-2 network security appliance that the Critical Infrastructure Protection Center (CIPC) at SPAWAR as well as the Advanced Concepts and Technology Demonstration (ACTD) office in the Pentagon are interested in deploying in order to increase cyber security protection. The Masking Shunt hides Media Access Control (MAC) addresses of any pass through device.
- $6 million to upgrade Combat Casualty Care Equipment, including personnel kits and on-board kits for tactical vehicles. The main production facility is located in Greenville.
- $6 million for Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies Initiative. This program will advance the use of fuel cell technology from the laboratory to commercial manufacturing in order to assure a reliable supply of electrical energy to warfighter forces in the field.
- $2 million to research and develop an Active Coating Technology on Roto-craft (ACTOR) that allows the Army to extend development of material coatings from ground vehicles to helicopters. This technology helps to adapt in real time to the surrounding situation and environment. The program will be based at Clemson University.
- $2 million for development of the Advanced Warfighter Sustainment Systems for the 21st Century (AWSS-21). AWSS-21 will provide better packaged and more nutritious food to our soldiers in the field. Research is conducted at Clemson University and in Gray Court.
- $2 million for Moldable Fabric Armor which will provide an extremely tough yarn designed to be woven into fabric. These facilities are located throughout the Upstate.
- $11.614 million for the purchase of M249 SAW machine guns for the Army or Marines. The M249 is produced in Columbia.
- $13.175 million for the purchase of M240 medium machine guns for the Army or Marines. The M240 is produced in Columbia.
- $3 million for Antiballistic Windshield Armor (AWA). This funding will increase the safety and protection of our troops in light tactical wheeled vehicles. This work will be done in Bamberg.
- $2.4 million for the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR). The SCAR will be produced in Columbia.
- $2 million for the University of South Carolina for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Detection which will support the development of a system to protect U.S. forces from threats concealed in buildings, cargo containers, trucks or other vehicles.
- $1 million for Connect and Join. This funding will provide a unique communication tool that enables deployed service members to stay closely connected with their families back home. The service and technology will be carried out in Columbia.
- $6 million for the purchase of All Terrain Military Utility Vehicles (M-Gator) for the Army.
- $3 million to purchase portable tent lighting produced in Clover.
- $3 million for the development of high modulus carbon fibers in York. This will help supply domestic sources of carbon fiber for production of efficient manned and unmanned air and space vehicles in the military.
- $3.5 million for research and development of high temperature superconducting generators. Research is being conducted at the University of South Carolina and in Greenville.
- $3 million for further deployment of the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Vibration Management Enhancement Program, a maintenance diagnostic system, on Guard helicopters.
- $2.5 million for the development of an Advanced Electric Drive system for military vehicles. Development is done at facilities throughout South Carolina.