Jul 28 2005

Highway Bill Delivers over $21 Million to 3rd District

Barrett, Graham, DeMint Help Secure Needed Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.) joined U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in announcing over $21 million in the House-Senate highway conference report to fund road projects in the Third Congressional District of South Carolina. The surface transportation bill provides $286.4 billion in federal highway contract authority between 2004 and 2009, and is expected to pass the Senate and the House later this week. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation soon after. "I appreciate Senator DeMint's efforts as a conferee to help secure funding for these projects," said Congressman Barrett. "This funding will go a long way toward improving the transportation infrastructure and safety of roadways and bridges throughout the Third District. Additionally, I thank Senator Graham for his continued dedication to the people of the Third District." "The highway bill is very good news for motorists in South Carolina," said Senator Graham. "As a state, we were able to secure a more equitable funding formula which will put additional dollars toward our road system. It truly moves the ball forward in our efforts to build new roads while maintaining and improving the ones we currently have. I truly appreciate Gresham's work in the House helping ensure our needs were met and interests were protected." "The funding for these projects will improve our infrastructure and make South Carolina more competitive while also improving safety and our quality of life," said Senator DeMint. "I sincerely appreciate Gresham's hard work in securing these funds, as he fought to make sure the Third District's priorities were given attention. I also want to personally thank Lindsey for his leadership and help to ensure South Carolina was treated fairly throughout this process." Notable Funding for Third District Projects: Palmetto Parkway, Aiken- $11,600,000 Replace Milford Rd Bridge, Anderson- $400,000 Replace Murphy Rd West, Anderson- $188,000 Replace Murphy Rd East Bridge, Anderson- $212,000 Extension of Wells Highway, Oconee- $3,600,000 Interchange at I-385 and SC-14, Laurens- $3,760,000 Frontage Rd, Laurens- $2,240,000 ####

Jul 27 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate passed the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act and the Southern Campaign of the Revolution Heritage Area Study Act. Both measures were included as part of a larger bill that included other heritage and interior-related legislation. The purpose of the Gullah/Geechee heritage corridor is to:
  • Recognize the important contributions made to American culture and history by African-Americans known as the Gullah/Geechee who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina and Georgia.
  • Assist state and local governments and public and private entities in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida in interpreting the story of the Gullah/Geechee and preserving Gullah/Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music.
  • Assist in identifying and preserving sites, historical data, artifacts, and objects associated with the Gullah/Geechee for the benefit and education of the public.
“I would like to thank my colleagues in the Senate for coming together to assist us in preserving a piece of South Carolina’s heritage,” said Graham. “It’s important we recognize the contributions of these South Carolinians and pass along their story to future generations.” “I would also like to thank my colleague Jim Clyburn for his efforts in pushing this forward,” said Graham. “He has been a tireless champion of the bill in the House and it is my hope that we will soon see this become a reality.” Graham noted that in addition to the Gullah/Geechee Heritage Corridor Act the bill also contained the Southern Campaign of the Revolution Heritage Area Study Act. The bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to study and report on the suitability and feasibility of designating specified South Carolina counties, cities, and public sites as the Southern Campaign of the Revolution Heritage Area. South Carolina has over 200 Revolutionary War sites, more than any other state, and is currently celebrating the 225th Anniversary of most of these battlegrounds. Although the Southern Campaign is considered by many the turning point of the Revolution, no heritage corridor currently exists to commemorate the Southern Campaign. The bill must now be passed by the House of Representatives and then signed into law by President Bush. ####

Jul 26 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today met with Supreme Court nominee John Roberts in Washington. Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He made this statement following the meeting. “Judge Roberts is an extremely bright and capable individual with an impeccable legal background. I very much enjoyed meeting with him. “It’s my hope the Senate will treat him in a fair and professional manner during the confirmation process. Early indications are that we will and I certainly hope that trend continues. “I do expect Judge Roberts will be aggressively questioned in the Judiciary Committee, but I do not expect him to say how he would vote on any particular case. Questions asking the nominee to do this in advance of hearing a case should be out-of-bounds. The same goes for requests for documents protected under attorney-client privilege. “It’s also improper to use a client’s position against the nominee. Lawyers give legal advice to those they represent and it’s not fair to judge them by the actions and thoughts of their clients. “I hope the hearings do not become a referendum on any single issue. The purpose of the hearing is to give members of the Senate an opportunity to examine the nominee’s qualifications and background. It’s not an opportunity to get them to say how they would rule on cases that may come before the Supreme Court in future years.” ####

Jul 25 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) was joined today by former U.S. Senator Ernest F. ‘Fritz’ Hollings and representatives from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to discuss the importance of making the Hollings Cancer Center a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center. “Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the nation,” said Graham. “Practically every South Carolina family has been impacted by this horrible disease. Like Senator Hollings, I want to do all humanly possible to conquer cancer. South Carolina is aggressively confronting its many health care problems and MUSC is on the front line of this battle.” “It’s my goal to take the Hollings Cancer Center to the next level by achieving a National Cancer Institute designation,” said Graham. “This designation would put the Center in an elite group of institutions. With an NCI designation, the Hollings Cancer Center would rightfully hold a place in the major leagues of cancer research.” An NCI designation is the highest recognition a cancer center can receive. It acknowledges the center has met the highest standards for patient care, prevention and control, research, and education in the field of cancer. This designation would increase the resources available to Hollings Cancer Center to conduct research and prevention programs. It will also increase the state’s access for clinical trials for newly developed drugs to fight cancer. “To reach this goal we must work together as a Congressional delegation and in concert with state and local officials, along with the private sector,” said Graham. “With Senator Hollings and the steady leadership of Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Kraft, I believe we can achieve this prestigious designation.” Graham has secured $8 million for the Hollings Cancer Center in the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill. The funding will go towards the construction of a new research facility dedicated to the role genetics plays in the development of cancer. It will also help in the long-term efforts to turn the Center into an NCI designated cancer center. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in South Carolina, claiming the lives of nearly 8,000 citizens each year. More than 17,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed in South Carolina annually. One in two males and one in three females will develop cancer at some time in their lives. “The Hollings Cancer Center is a national leader in treatment and research,” said Graham. “With focused commitment and persistence an NCI designation is achievable over time. There would be no better way to honor Senator Hollings than to achieve this goal.” ####

Jul 25 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is scheduled to offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill strengthening the legal hand of the Bush Administration and future Administrations to hold enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo). “It is imperative we have procedures in place at Gitmo that will keep terrorists off the battlefield as long as necessary to protect our nation,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “My amendment seeks to achieve that goal.” “Without congressional authority we run a real risk a federal court will either take over or impede our efforts at Gitmo,” said Graham “We are winning in some courts and losing in others. It is now time to strengthen Gitmo so it can meet our national defense needs.” Graham noted that by Congress acting through statute, the likelihood of keeping properly designated enemy combatants off the battlefield for an undetermined amount of time is enhanced and will strengthen Gitmo’s legal position in federal court. “The president has established procedures to determine who is an enemy combatant and to annually review their status,” said Graham. “It’s now time for Congress to sign-off on these procedures and turn them into a statute, a move the courts will give great deference to.” The major provisions of the Graham amendment include:
  • The Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT), established by the president, would become statutory law. The tribunal determines the status of whether a detainee is an unlawful enemy combatant.
  • The Annual Review Board (ARB), also established by the president, would become statutory law. The ARB reviews the combatant’s status on an annual basis to determine if the individual is an enemy combatant, still holds intelligence value and/or, still presents a threat to the United States. Graham modifies current procedure by allowing an enemy combatant to have a military lawyer present when appearing before the ARB. They currently have a military representative present.
  • The president is also given flexibility to update CSRT and ARB procedures by giving Congress 30 days notice.
“My goal is to legitimize the actions our nation is taking at Gitmo and keep enemy combatants off the battlefield as long as possible,” said Graham. “Congress can and needs to act to legitimize the long-term detention of enemy combatants at Gitmo. The War on Terror will go on long after this Administration and we need to have congressional buy-in into this matter.” “By getting Congress to put some of these things into law, it will strengthen the Commander in Chief’s hand in the War on Terror,” said Graham. “We can also clear up any legal confusion that currently exists and can show the courts the Executive and Legislative branches have acted together which will tremendously strengthen the legal position of Gitmo, President Bush, and all future Commanders in Chief.” #####

Jul 21 2005

Graham TRICARE EXPANSION Passes Senate

Amendment Provides Access to Healthcare Benefits for Guard and Reserve Members

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today hailed unanimous Senate passage of his measure to expand access to healthcare benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve. The initiative, which has gained widespread support in the Senate, cuts across party and ideological lines as it has drawn support from Republicans, Democrats, liberals and conservatives. The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, John Warner (R-VA), also expressed strong support for the legislation on the floor of the Senate. The expansion, which passed as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill, extends TRICARE to all drilling members of the Guard and Reserve regardless of whether they are on active duty or not. Reservists would be required to pay modest monthly premiums. Graham has worked with U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Norm Coleman (R-MN), George Allen (R-VA) and others to expand access to TRICARE benefits for Guard and Reserve members and their families. In October 2004, Senator Graham sponsored legislation that was part of the approved 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 in April 2005. The amendment passed today further expands eligibility by lifting the 90 day cap and allowing any drilling reservists to buy into TRICARE at any time. “Guardsmen and Reservists are the only part-time federal employees who are currently ineligible for federal government full-time health care benefits,” said Graham, a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. “We’re going to continue pushing for a better benefit package for our citizen-soldiers. “The National Guard and Reserves are playing a vital role in Iraqi and Afghanistan and are an integral part of the war on terrorism,” said Graham. “Our proposal will also help in our lagging recruiting and retention efforts.” The 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 legislation now goes to a House-Senate conference for consideration. ####

Jul 21 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statements on the announcement the Chinese have begun to revalue their currency. Graham, along with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), have been leaders in pushing the Chinese to discontinue pegging their currency to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 8.28 yuan arguing it hurts American manufacturing. “I’m pleased with the Chinese government’s decision to revalue the yuan,” said Graham. “While the initial revaluation was small, it is encouraging. They’ve taken a small first step which I hope over time will turn into more revaluations and the eventual floating of the Chinese currency.” China set the value of the yuan at a level equal to 8.11 yuan to the dollar, an increase of about 2 percent. The Chinese also set up a mechanism to allow the yuan to fluctuate in value by as much as 0.3 percent per day. This mechanism allows the yuan to potentially increase gradually over time. The Chinese government will continue to manage the exchange rate. “The most significant aspect of the announcement is it allows the Chinese to have a daily upward valuation of their currency,” said Graham. “This mechanism is the best indication they don’t view today’s two percent adjustment as the end of the road, but the beginning of a series of adjustments over time. It creates a process for continued upward adjustment to bring the Chinese currency in-line with its true value.” The issue was brought to a head when Graham and Schumer offered their legislation calling for a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese goods entering the country as an amendment to the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act. A procedural motion to table the amendment was brought forward and soundly defeated in a bipartisan 67-33 vote. A majority of Republicans and Democrats opposed the tabling measure. “In light of China’s decision, Malaysia has decided to begin revaluing their currency as well,” said Graham. “A revaluation of China and other Asian currencies will greatly benefit American manufacturers in the global economy. China is too strong of an economy to continue manipulating its currency to create a discount on its products. It’s been unfair to American manufacturing and put us at a competitive disadvantage.” “By beginning to move away from pegging their currency, China will create a better climate for doing business,” said Graham. “Over time, it can become a win for both countries. That’s the goal Senator Schumer and I have hoped to achieve with our actions on this issue.” Last month, after meeting with Treasury Secretary John Snow and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, Graham and Schumer agreed to postpone a pending July vote on their tariff legislation. Graham said he was convinced progress was being made on this issue and in light of this progress, it was appropriate to show flexibility. “I’m appreciative of the attention the administration has placed on this issue,” said Graham. “I look forward to working with Secretary Snow and Chairman Greenspan to encourage China to continue to move to an eventual float of their currency.” #####

Jul 19 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased U.S. and Russian negotiators had come to preliminary agreement on liability provisions which have slowed construction of the mixed oxide fuel (MOX) facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS). MOX is the process where weapons-grade plutonium is converted into fuel for use in commercial reactors to produce electricity. “The preliminary agreement is very good news for the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, and the nation as it helps move our construction efforts forward,” said Graham. “I look forward to a formal agreement being reached in the coming weeks. MOX is a tremendous program and one that will pay dividends for years to come.” Construction efforts at SRS have slowed as the liability provisions were negotiated. The liability provisions deal with American workers helping construct the Russian facility in Siberia. “I recently spoke with Secretary Rice and told her I appreciate her hard work in addressing this issue,” said Graham. “MOX is a very important piece of our efforts to stop nuclear proliferation as it turns nuclear swords into plowshares.” “To a terrorist like Osama Bin Laden, weapons-grade plutonium is more valuable than gold,” said Graham. “Under MOX, we’ll be able to take this material off the market and turn it into fuel to produce electricity in a commercial nuclear power plant.” The agreement on liability requires a Russian presidential decree and then a formal signing of the pact by the two countries. The Russian Duma will then ratify the agreement. #####

Jul 19 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Graham said: "With the nomination of Judge John Roberts, the American people are getting an extremely qualified nominee with impeccable legal credentials. He also happens to be a very decent and honorable man. In a single word, John Roberts is 'solid.' "Judge Roberts is a solid conservative who understands the role of a judge is to interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. He is a truly an oustanding choice the entire country can be proud of as he is one of the best legal minds of his generation. "Judge Roberts represents a new generation of Associate Justices for the Supreme Court. I expect him to be fairly and decently treated by the Senate. Based on his qualifications, temperment and character he will be confirmed by an up-or-down vote. "Judge Roberts also holds the unique distinction of being confirmed for his current position on the D.C. Court of Appeals, the nation's second-highest court, by unanimous consent. This has rarely occured and is the best indication about how the Senate feels about John Roberts. "In 2003, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee I strongly supported John Robert's nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals. Over the past two years, I've heard nothing to change my opinion about Judge Roberts." ####

Jul 07 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the bombings in London. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of London who have been affected by this attack. “The contrast, described by President Bush between the terrorists who indiscriminately kill and the leaders of the G-8 trying to solve world problems, was right-on. It also presents the best description of our terrorist enemies as being ruthless and having no regard for human life. They must be dealt with by aggressive action and a strong will. #####