Jun 15 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the agreement to bring the immigration reform bill back to the floor.  The Senate will resume debate on immigration possibly as soon as next week.



Graham said:



“After 9-11 immigration reform is not just a social and economic problem, but also a national security issue of the highest importance.  I am pleased that the Senate leadership is going to bring the immigration reform bill back to the floor for further debate and amendment.  This is a great opportunity for the Senate, in a bipartisan fashion, to reform a chaotic immigration system.



“The challenge is to bring to the table workable solutions instead of political rhetoric that embraces the unrealistic and caters to fear.  I hope the Senate can rise to the occasion because if we fail it will be years before this issue is dealt with again, and the current chaos will continue to grow.



“Much is at stake for the Senate and the country as we resume debate on immigration reform.  We have a chance to prove to the American people that we still have the ability to solve hard problems, or we can choose to reinforce growing skepticism about our government and fall further in the eyes of the American people.



“As elected leaders of the world’s greatest democracy I hope we will choose to make tough decisions and not pass this problem on to the next generation of political leaders.  I understand the public skepticism about any effort to reform immigration.  However, skepticism should never be used as an excuse for inaction.”






Jun 14 2007

WASHINGTON -- President Bush today came out strongly in support of U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) proposed amendment to the Senate immigration bill requiring mandatory funding for border security and enforcement provisions contained in the legislation.


“The moment the presidential signing pen meets the paper these funds will be available,” said Graham.  “I’m very pleased President Bush has embraced the Graham-Kyl Amendment requiring mandatory funding for border security and enforcement.”


Today, in a speech to the Associated Builders and Contractors President Bush said, “We're going to show the American people that the promises in this bill will be kept” and that the legislation would also “show the American people that we’re going to do our jobs of securing this border once and for all.”  


Graham’s proposed amendment, introduced with Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), will immediately make available $4.4 billion in mandatory spending to secure our nation’s borders.  Funds will be spent on miles of new fencing, miles of new vehicle barriers, surveillance towers, detention beds, the Electronic Employee Verification System (EEVS), and other enforcement programs.  The penalties paid by z-visa holders as a condition of their punishment and probation would reimburse taxpayers for the border security improvements.


“The funds will be ready to use in our efforts to construct miles of new fencing, miles of new vehicle barriers, utilize new cutting-edge technology at the border, build surveillance towers, institute an EEVS to ensure workers are legal, and other enforcement measures,” said Graham.


“Congress has listened and heard the constructive criticism which has been offered,” said Graham.  “The Graham-Kyl Amendment addresses legitimate concerns on the part of the American people that Congress would not fund our border security efforts.  I believe we have now addressed those concerns and I expect Congress will pass this amendment when we return to immigration reform.”




Jun 13 2007


Graham, Baucus, Grassley, and Schumer unveil long-awaited legislation addressing misaligned foreign currencies, competitive threats to U.S. businesses and workers

WASHINGTON-- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) along with Senators Max Baucus (D-Montana), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Charles Schumer (D-New York) today introduced major legislation to deal with foreign currency concerns threatening the U.S. economy. 
The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2007 establishes a new approach to examining world currencies, requiring new consultations with offending nations and imposing new consequences for inaction.    When currencies are so undervalued that they become fundamentally misaligned with the U.S. dollar, they can put American manufacturers and wage-earners at a significant disadvantage in the global economy.  The bill unveiled today is the result of the four Senators’ 2006 commitment to draft new, vigorous, and WTO-consistent legislation to address currency misalignments.  
This is a wake-up call," said Graham.  "No longer will the United States sit on the sidelines and allow other nations to gain an unfair advantage by manipulating their currency.  Our legislation is a much-needed and long overdue change.  There is no doubt that China and other nations have been manipulating their currency to give themselves an advantage.  For too long the game has been rigged against American business.  Working together we will change currency practices to put American business on a level playing field."
"This bill requires the Treasury Department to take firm but fair action when other nations play games with the U.S. dollar.  For too long, our currency policy has left American workers and businesses unprotected from foreign governments seeking an unfair financial advantage," said Baucus.  "We’ve worked together to craft a measured but meaningful framework for dealing with currency concerns.  This is a reasonable response to the problems caused when currencies are significantly out of sync.  Treasury should welcome the opportunity this bill offers to give America a strong and even hand in currency matters."
"The United States respects the rule of law. We expect our trading partners to do the same," said Grassley.  "Unlike some other approaches to currency manipulation, this bill is WTO-compliant. It sets consequences for countries that want to access the U.S. market but don’t play fair. We’re not picking a fight with anyone.  Today, the problem country is China. Tomorrow, it may be Country X. This enforcement structure could apply to any trading partner with out-of-whack currency.  It gives a good chance for self-correction before penalties ramp up.  It’s a velvet glove with a steel fist inside."
"This breakthrough proposal is like nothing else because it’s tough, wide-reaching and WTO-compliant," said Schumer.  "The previous legislation got China’s attention; the purpose of this legislation is to force change.  Drafting legislation that was both tough and WTO-compliant was no easy task but we worked and worked for what appears to be the most elegant solution to the China conundrum so far."
The Senators’ bill eliminates the current U.S. Treasury Department framework for addressing currency concerns, which requires Treasury to label countries "currency manipulators" before taking action and then only requires negotiation with the offending country.  The potential political consequences of the "manipulator" label have kept Treasury from applying it as needed to protect U.S. economic concerns. 
The consensus proposal unveiled today instead requires the U.S. Treasury to identify "fundamentally misaligned" currencies to Congress twice a year, marking some currencies for "priority action" if the misalignment is clearly caused by a foreign government’s economic policies.  Treasury will be required to consult with any country with fundamentally misaligned currency, but a designation for "priority action" has further immediate consequences.  The Treasury Department will be required to oppose changes in International Monetary Fund (IMF) rules benefiting that nation, and currency concerns will be taken into account if countries with non-market economies wish to receive market status.
If a designated country fails to take appropriate action within six months, additional steps must be taken.  When the U.S. works to determine whether a country is unfairly dumping goods into the American market, it must be taken into account that the undervalued currency makes imported goods from the designated country artificially cheap.  Further steps include suspension of U.S. government procurement, requests for special consultation by the IMF, and suspension of loans and private insurance from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to U.S. companies wishing to operate in that nation.  If issues are not resolved within one year, the legislation requires the U.S. Trade Representative to commence WTO dispute settlement proceedings regarding the currency problem, and requires the Treasury Secretary to consider possible remedial intervention by the Federal Reserve Board and other central banks. 
At the six-month and twelve-month marks, the President of the United States may waive the bill’s requirements if implementing them poses a threat to national security or America’s economic interests.  But the bill also increases congressional input by giving Congress the ability to voice disapproval of the Presidential economic waiver, and by creating a new body – appointed by the President and the leaders of committees of jurisdiction – with which Treasury must consult during the development of its report. 
Baucus and Grassley are Chairman and Ranking Republican and Schumer is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over U.S. trade policy.    The Senators’ bill is expected to be referred to the Finance Committee.

Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Senate no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
“The time we spend on the Senate floor debating issues is a precious commodity.  I cannot think of a bigger waste of time than the Democratic resolution expressing no-confidence in the Attorney General.
“This resolution takes the country down a road we have never traveled before.  If successful, it could start an endless journey of political sniping and sophomoric payback.  The Congress is in low standing with the public for a reason. The Democratic leaderships decision to bring up matters such as this – an unprecedented political stunt – reinforces our low standing.  For these reasons, I will vote against moving the resolution forward.”

Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the City of Charleston will receive more than $2.3 million in housing program grants.

Community Development Block Grant - $1,094,273

The Community Development Block Grant program develops communities and provides housing by expanding economic opportunities for low and moderate income households.

HOME Investment Partnership - $826,621

The HOME Investment Partnership Program creates affordable housing by allowing communities to design and implement strategies tailored to their own needs and priorities.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS - $401,000

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program provides housing assistance and related support services to state and local governments.

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Department of Public Safety will receive a $5,497,757 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.  The funds can be used for crime control and prevention programs.

South Carolina will use the grant money for:

  • Law enforcement programs that target drug distribution networks, provide equipment upgrades, and prioritize domestic violence offenses and crimes against children and the aged.
  • Prosecution and court programs that provide prosecutorial resources and concentrate on offenders accused of violent crimes and criminal domestic violence, and support services to relieve caseloads in mental health courts.
  • Prevention and education programs to reduce crime and enhance security in schools.
  • Planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs that improve interoperable communications, interconnectivity, and enhancement to data systems that promote reporting crime data.

Graham noted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will also receive a $351,913 grant to improve criminal history record systems.  SLED will use the funds to develop and implement a uniform RAP sheet that is compliant with both the Global Justice XML Data Model and the National Information Exchange Model.

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice.


Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Furman University and Greenville Technical College will receive $1.1 million in scientific research grants.


Furman University will receive a $272,000 grant for a project entitled "RUI: Photochemistry and Photophysics of Macrocyclic Chromium(III) Complexes: An Investigation of Electronic Energy Self-Exchange."

Greenville Tech

Greenville Technical College will receive an $886,886 grant for a project entitled "Virtual Simulated Inspection (ViSIns) Laboratory: Using Interactive 3D Knowledge Objects to Promote Learning for Non-Destructive Inspection in Aviation Maintenance Technology.”

The grants were awarded by the National Science Foundation.


Jun 11 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and U.S. Representative Gresham Barrett today announced Clemson University will receive three scientific research grants totaling $1.3 million.

Clemson will receive:

  • $878,750 for a project entitled, "Biosystems Technology ATE Project.”
  • $335,000 for a project entitled, "Shoots, Roots & Nodules: A Molecular Genetic Dissection of Local & Long Distance Signaling in M. Truncatula."
  • $125,237 for a project entitled, "Computer-Aided Collaborative Reasoning across the Curriculum.”

The grants were awarded by the National Science Foundation.


Jun 08 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on the vote to bring debate to a close on the Senate immigration bill.  The motion failed by a vote of 50-45.  Sixty votes are needed to end debate.

“The legislation secures our nation’s border, ensures workers are legal, provides for a temporary guest worker program, and punishes the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States in a fair manner.  The legislation is far from perfect, but it is a realistic approach to dealing with the very serious immigration problems facing our nation.   

“The last vote in the Senate is a bump in the road to enacting comprehensive immigration reform.  Once the legislative logjam is broken, I believe a majority of Republican and Democratic Senators will approve the legislation.  There remains strong bipartisan support for the reform bill. 

“I’m optimistic the legislation will come back to the floor in a matter of weeks.  We will have more votes on the issue.  There is no good reason, given the wide support for this bill, that we cannot have a final passage vote before the July 4th break.

“President Bush deserves great credit and praise for bringing us to this point in the debate.  Without his leadership, we would not be on the verge of passing comprehensive immigration reform.  With his continued leadership I know that we will cross the finish line in the coming weeks.”



Jun 07 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement last night on the Senate floor against the Obama amendment.  The amendment would have undermined the merit-based system to handle future immigration.  It was defeated by a vote of 42-55.  Graham said:

“Thank you Mr. President.  I think it’s very appropriate that you be occupying the chair during this moment in this debate.  My good friend from Illinois says that to those who have worked so hard to get this bill to the point that it’s at, nothing personal, 'But I can’t live with this provision.'  

“You know, bipartisanship is music to the American people’s ears.  When you’re out there on the campaign trail, you’re trying to pull us all together, you’re trying to make American better.  Why can’t we work together?

“This is why we can’t work together.  Because some people -- when it comes to the tough decisions -- back away.  

“Because when you talk about bipartisanship, some Americans on the left and the right consider it heresy.  And we’re giving in if we pass this amendment.  

“The 12 million who have lived in fear for decades, my Republican colleagues and a majority have told our base we’re not going to put them in jail and we’re not going to deport them.  No matter how much you scream, no matter how much you yell, we’re going to make them right with the law.  

“We’re going to punish them, but we’re not going to play like they don’t exist.  And we are going to do thing different in the future.

“If you care about family, under this bill people are united in eight years who would wait 30 years to get here.  If you care about families wanting to wake up one morning and not be afraid, this bill does it.

“This amendment, in the name of making the bill better, says bipartisanship doesn’t have the “bi” in it.  It means that everybody over here who’s walked the plank and told our base you’re wrong, you’re going to destroy this deal.  And that is exactly what it is, a deal.  

“A deal to make American more secure, to give people a chance to start their lives over again and to have a new system that has a strong pro-family component but will make us competitive with the world because some people don’t want to say to the loud folks – ‘No, you can’t have your way all the time.’  

“Now let me tell you, this is about as bipartisan as you’ll get Mr. President.  Some of us on the Republican side have been beat up and some of you on the Democratic side have been beat up because we’ve tried to find a way forward on a problem that nobody else wants to deal with.

“To my friend, Senator Kennedy, thank you for trying to find a way, as much as we’re different, to make this country better, more secure, to treat the 12 million people in a way they’ve never been treated, and in my opinion, deserve to be treated, and a chance to start over.  What a sweet idea it is to have a second chance in life.  Well, they’re not going to get it if this [amendment] passes and American will be the worse for it.  

“What a great opportunity we have as a country not to repeat mistakes of 1986 by having a merit-based immigration system that has a strong family component but frees up some green cards so we can be competitive.  

“So when you’re out on the campaign trail my friend, tell them about why we can’t come together.  This is why.”