Mar 10 2005

Graham Bill Reigns in Spending on Medicare

Caps Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Outlays to Initial Estimates

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has introduced legislation designed to reign in costs of the Medicare prescription drug bill. U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) has signed on as a co-sponsor. “As we try to improve senior’s health care we cannot do it in a way that will doom their grandchildren with debts they cannot afford to pay,” said Graham. “I was always concerned the projected costs of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit would turn out to be wrong. Even I was surprised at how quickly and dramatically the projected costs of the program spiked. I’m afraid this isn’t going to be the last bit of bad news we receive about the long-term costs of this new entitlement.” The new benefit was initially estimated to cost $395 billion over the next ten years when the bill passed Congress and was signed into law by President Bush in December 2003. A mere two months after becoming law, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revised the figure and projected the bill to cost an estimated $534 billion. This week, a Congressional Budget Office report pushed the cost to $849 billion over the next 10 years. The Medicare Prescription Drug Cost Containment Act of 2005 would place a cap on the program’s expenditures equal to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates for fiscal years 2005-2013, and allow for reasonable growth after that. Should the Medicare actuaries determine that the cap has been exceeded in any fiscal year the President would be required to submit to Congress legislation to reduce the cost of the Prescription Drug Benefit. Graham proposes controlling the long-term costs of the program by:
  • Placing caps on Medicare prescription drug outlays. The caps would be equal to the estimate of outlays for Prescription Drug Benefit for Fiscal Years (FY) 2005-2013 as estimated by CBO. The caps for FY 2005-2013 2005: $800 million (program not in full effect) 2006: $25.7 billion 2007: $39.0 billion 2008: $44.6 billion 2009: $48.7 billion 2010: $53.7 billion 2011: $58.6 billion 2012: $65.3 billion 2013: $73.1 billion
  • Requiring the President to submit legislation to Congress reducing the costs of the prescription drug benefit upon determination the cap will be exceeded in any fiscal year. The President’s legislation would be considered on a fast-track basis and could not be amended or filibustered. Failure by a President to submit legislation would allow any Senator to move to discharge from the Finance Committee any Medicare reform legislation to lower the cost of the drug benefit.
“The prescription drug benefit was tacked on to an already broken Medicare program without underlying reform,” said Graham. “We have a responsibility to protect future generations from overbearing deficits and look at ways to reign in spending and modernize entitlement programs.” “I want seniors to have a prescription drug benefit, but I’m not prepared to do it at all costs,” said Graham. “The Medicare prescription drug benefit, as it’s currently structured, allows uncontrolled expansion that may topple the entire system.” ####

Mar 10 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $220,000 in grants to fire departments in Landrum and Walterboro. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The Assistance to Firefighters Grants will help the fire departments improve their training, wellness and fitness programs; purchase new firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and, make modifications to fire stations and facilities. Landrum Gowensville Fire Department will receive $25,884. Walterboro Colleton County Fire & Rescue will receive $196,290. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Mar 04 2005

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring the former Secretary General of China Zhao Ziyang. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced the bipartisan resolution. Zhao is best-known for his 1989 actions advising against the use of force to end the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. He also warned thousands of students authorities were approaching the Square demonstrating his sympathy for the cause of democracy. As a result of his actions, Zhao was removed from office and placed under house arrest, a sentence he remained under for the past 15 years. When he passed away on January 17, 2005 the Chinese government was indecisive about allowing a ceremony. Eventually, they allowed a modest one to be held at which mourners were surrounded in an intimidating environment and many mourners were barred from attending. Upon his death, Zhao’s passing was not mentioned in state-controlled television broadcasts and received little attention in state-controlled newspapers. Eulogies were erased by censors on memorial websites. After the memorial service the Chinese government reluctantly released an official obituary where it noted Zhao made “serious mistakes” during the political disturbance in the spring and summer of 1989. The U.S. Senate resolution recognizes Zhao’s contributions to the reform movement in China and expresses the sympathy of the Senate to his family and supporters who were unable to grieve appropriately. Furthermore, it calls on China to release all prisoners of conscience, including those jailed after Tiananmen Square, and allow those people exiled for political activity to be allowed to return to China and live in peace. “To those who doubt the oppressive nature of the current Chinese government, the treatment of Zhao in life and death should serve as a reminder,” said Graham. “China still represses its people and denies and defies the basic tenets of a representative government. Our resolution is a signal to the Chinese government the U.S. Senate rejects these abuses of basic human rights.” ####

Mar 04 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Medical University of South Carolina will receive a $365,000 grant for drug abuse research, and a $180,755 grant to help improve training in emergency medical services for children. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####

Mar 03 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the city of Dillon will receive a $785,000 Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to help with a wastewater collection system in an industrial area. The proposed investment consists of 4,982 linear feet of 10-inch gravity wastewater line, 16 associated manholes, 17,827 linear feet of 12-inch force main, and one pump station. The proposed sewer system improvements are required to appropriately serve an industrial expansion as well as meet the needs of the area for future industrial growth. “This grant will help Dillon and the surrounding communities continue to build the necessary infrastructure to attract and retain more businesses,” said Graham. “We need to continue building infrastructure in our rural counties, particularly those with very high unemployment rates. This is another important step in the right direction.” “This investment in Dillon County will save and create hundreds of South Carolina jobs, and I’m pleased that the EDA has awarded these funds. This grant will increase the competitiveness of the area, and I commend the area leaders in Dillon, Marion and Marlboro counties for their continued efforts to attract industry to the area,” said DeMint who sits on the Senate Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration. ######

Mar 02 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $500,000 in grants to fire departments in Gaffney, Latta, Orangeburg, and Spartanburg. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The grants were awarded in one of three program areas:
  • Operations and Firefighter Safety Program: The funds may be used for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
  • Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Program: The funds may be used for the purchase of firefighting vehicles including pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats.
The grants awarded include: Gaffney Macedonia Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $127,089 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Latta Latta-Dillon County Fire Department Area 2 will receive a $117,329 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Orangeburg West Middle Fire Department will receive a $157,500 Firefighting Vehicle Grant. Spartanburg Croft Fire Department will receive a $131,157 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Mar 02 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will receive a $26,283,735 grant for preparedness activities related to implementing the State Homeland Security Strategy. “The tragic events of September 11, 2001 changed our world forever,” said Graham. “Threats continue to exist from terrorist organizations determined to destroy our way of life. Law enforcement officers and first responders are on the front lines defending South Carolina and protecting our citizens. The sacrifice made by these brave men and women make them some of the heroes in our midst.” The money will be used to support programs that enhance coordination of regional efforts to prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, cyber attacks, and natural disasters. The funding includes $16,925,018 for the State Homeland Security Program; $6,154,552 for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program; $2,761,710 for the Emergency Management Performance Grant Program; $227,592 for the Metropolitan Medical Response System; and $214,863 for the Citizen Corps Program. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Mar 02 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced South Carolina will receive a $20,521,015 grant for the treatment of HIV/AIDS in the state. The funds, awarded under the Ryan White Title II Formula Grants Program, can be used to provide a variety of services to low-income individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####

Feb 23 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced nearly $1,000,000 in grants to fire departments in Beaufort, Bowman, Cheraw, Conway, Greer, North Charleston, Orangeburg, and Pomaria.. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The grants were awarded in one of three program areas:
  • Operations and Firefighter Safety Program: The funds may be used for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
  • Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Program: The funds may be used for the purchase of firefighting vehicles including pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats.
  • Fire Prevention Program: The funds may be used for public education and awareness activities, fire code enforcement, fire inspector certification, the purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems, wildland fire mitigation, and arson prevention and detection. The grants awarded include: Beaufort Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District will receive a $153,212 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Bowman Bowman Volunteer Fire Department will receive an $80,973 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Cheraw Brocks Mill Rural Fire Department will receive a $139,500 Firefighting Vehicle Grant. Conway Horry County Fire/Rescue will receive a $48,206 Fire Prevention Grant. Greer City of Greer Fire Department will receive a $65,880 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. North Charleston City of North Charleston Fire Department will receive a $98,035 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Orangeburg Orangeburg Department of Public Safety will receive a $370,827 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Pomaria Consolidated Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $43,223 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Feb 22 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced airport grants for Charleston and Florence. Charleston: Charleston Executive will receive $2,173,250 to rehabilitate runways, conduct an airport master plan study, and expand an apron. The master plan will help the airport identify future development needs and associated capital costs. The funds will also allow for the expansion of an existing aircraft parking apron to accommodate current demand at the airport and rehabilitates existing Runways 9/27 and 4/22 surfaces because they are in poor condition and are in need of repair. Florence: Florence Regional will receive $2,302,188 to assist in rehabilitating an airport apron and runway in addition to acquiring a handicapped passenger lift. The aircraft loading device for handicapped passengers will help ensure the airport is in compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986. Funds will also be used to rehabilitate Runway 1/19 pavement which is in poor condition in areas. #####