Sep 25 2007

Graham and Brown applaud passage of WRDA

Bill Authorizes More Than $76 Million for 1st District Projects

WASHINGTON -- Today, Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 which will provide for significant improvements to our nation’s water resources and water infrastructure.  Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Henry E. Brown, Jr., voted with a strong bipartisan majority to pass this critically important legislation.  Brown was a member of the Conference Committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill.  The bill authorizes more than $76 million for infrastructure projects in Charleston and the Grand Strand.


“After many years of work on this bill, I was pleased to see this legislation take another critical step towards becoming law,” said Brown.  “Working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, we were able to work out a compromise plan that both houses can agree to, as well as provide for necessary projects for coastal South Carolina .  Improving infrastructure is not a partisan issue, it is a commitment we as a nation must ensure is met, and I was pleased to see such strong bipartisan support for this bill.  I want to thank Senator Graham for his efforts in support of this legislation.”



“The South Carolina projects authorized in this bill are much needed to promote health, safety, and economic development,” said Graham.  “I appreciate Congressman Brown’s leadership in shepherding these meritorious projects through the House.  There is still much work to be done in the authorization and appropriation process.  We must create a system that allows transparency and reduces the ability of lawmakers to subvert the open process and slip wasteful spending into worthwhile bills.  I am proud of the funding Congressman Brown and I have secured, and ask my colleagues to publicly stand by their projects as well. ”



Included in the Conference Report were several projects sought by local communities to give the Army Corps the tools to improve the environment, conduct critical drainage improvements, and reduce coastal storm damage throughout the Grand Strand and Charleston Regions.  The efforts of Congressman Brown and Senator Graham resulted in increased authorization levels for these projects: 


  • $18 million to accelerate the continued installation of ocean outfalls in Myrtle Beach: As part of the City’s Pavilion Master Plan, an ocean outfall system for Myrtle Beach will retain, clean, and then discharge storm water offshore, replacing the current system, which dumps untreated storm water directly onto the beach.  The City has already invested $15 million into this project.


  • $16 million to continue progress on replacement of the Charleston Wastewater Tunnels: For several years, the Charleston Water System has been conducting a phased replacement of the city’s wastewater carrier tunnels.  These nearly 40-year-old structures lying beneath the city and the harbor were deteriorating at a rapid pace, putting the entire region under the risk of a severe environmental disaster, given that the tunnel system carries over 10 million gallons of wastewater on a daily basis.  While largely financed by the Water System, the federal support authorized in this legislation will assist with efforts to move ahead with Phase II of the project, which involves replacing portions of the Cooper River and Ashley River Tunnels in Downtown Charleston. 


  • $16.44 million to support storm damage reduction and beach renourishment in Pawleys Island Funds authorized under this project will allow for the construction of a 6,800 foot sand berm along the southern reach of Pawleys Island .  This will have a significant impact on reducing future hurricane and storm damage to the surrounding beach and community.  Additionally, the project provides for a 50-year commitment by the Federal government to provide for beach renourishment.


  • $11 million towards efforts by North Myrtle Beach to replace its current stormwater drainage system with a system of ocean outfalls: The ocean outfall system will ensure that swimmers do not come into contact with dangerous bacteria and will assist with efforts to reduce flooding and beach renourishment needs by carrying rainfall runoff to a point offshore.  Federal support for this project follows $12 million in local investment by North Myrtle Beach .


  • $11 million for ocean outfalls projects in Surfside Beach : Included in this authorization is critical support for efforts by the Town of Surfside Beach to replace an existing ocean outfall, including construction of a new headwall and weir.  The replacement of this outfall, along with efforts by the town to expand its existing outfall system, are strategic for ensuring that the Town continues its past history of meeting water quality mandates before they are required. 


  • $4 million to allow the City of Charleston to move forward with the Spring
    Street/Fishburne Street
    Drainage Project
    The Spring Street/Fishburne Street drainage basin encompasses approximately 500 acres, or about twenty percent of the Charleston peninsula and is traversed by U.S. Highway 17, which due to current conditions can be made impassable to passenger vehicles by moderate rainfall.


“A modern and well-functioning infrastructure is a key component to economic development, and serves to protect our health and safety,” said Graham.  “Projects authorized in this bill are critical to protecting the health and well being of people in South Carolina and throughout the country.”


“Each of these projects is critical to protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of the entire region,” said Representative Brown, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House.  “While this bill does not on its own provide funding, it ensures that these projects will be on the list of priorities for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”






Sep 24 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement following Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks at Columbia University.
Graham said:
“I regret that this extremist leader was given such a platform, and it is my hope that the world will understand and appreciate the radical nature of the current Iranian regime.  Ahmadinejad supports the destruction of the state of Israel.  We would be making a huge mistake miscalculating the Iranian threat to Israel and the region.
“His performance today should reinforce the international community’s desire to impose sanctions against Iran for their efforts to develop a nuclear weapons program.  If we act decisively now, with one voice, we could save the world a lot of heartache in the future.”

Sep 21 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Levin-Reed amendment which would have begun withdrawing American troops from Iraq in 120 days and requires the removal of most U.S. troops within the next nine months.

The amendment failed by a vote of 47-47, 13 votes shy of the 60 needed for passage.

"Levin-Reed was a case of armchair generals in Congress substituting their collective military judgment for that of General Petraeus. .

"The Levin-Reed amendment, had it passed, would not have been welcomed news by our troops on the battlefield. Our enemies, on the other hand, are suffering mightily under the Petraeus strategy and would have rejoiced over this dramatic reversal in policy.

"At a time when we should be building on the momentum of the Petraeus surge, Levin-Reed would have undercut it. Levin-Reed took us back to the old, failed strategy which clearly did not work. I’m very pleased the Senate rejected this ill-advised change in U.S. policy."


Sep 19 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today took to the floor to speak against an amendment offered by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) giving terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba expanded access to file lawsuits in federal courts.


Less than an hour later, the U.S. Senate defeated the Specter-Leahy amendment on a 43-56 procedural vote.  Sixty votes were required to move forward.


In 2005 and 2006, Graham played a leading role in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act (MCA) respectively.  The laws set forth the procedures for determining enemy combatant status, a very limited federal court review of military detention, and the procedures for the trial of the most dangerous terrorists by military tribunal.  Graham authored a provision which denies terrorists the right to file habeas corpus rights.  Enemy combatants have used habeas petitions to demand faster mail delivery, high speed internet access, and even to allege medical malpractice and demand millions in punitive and compensatory damages from our troops.  These laws ensure that federal courts do not take over the military decision of determining who is and is not an enemy combatant.


“Never in the history of warfare have enemy prisoners been able to bring lawsuits about their detention,” said Graham.  “Thousands of Germans and Japanese soldiers were captured and held by the military during World War II. Not one case was allowed in federal court where they were allowed to sue for their release. Our rules for the War on Terror should be no different.”


Under the Specter-Leahy amendment, enemy combatant terror suspects would have expanded rights to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court challenging their detention. It would also fundamentally weaken the rules governing military tribunals.


“The decision of determining who is an enemy combatant belongs with the military, not federal judges,” said Graham.  “Judges are not trained to determine who presents a threat to our nation. That is why Congress has only provided for a limited procedural review of combatant status determination.


“Before the MCA was signed into law, enemy combatants were filing frivolous suits requesting better mail delivery, more exercise, judge-supervised interrogation, Internet access, the right to view DVDs and alleging medical malpractice," said Graham. "We also made it clear in the MCA terror suspects could not sue American troops for doing their job.  The MCA protects our troops and national security while living up to our international commitments and obligations.


“It's time we put terror suspects on trial before military tribunals for their crimes against the United States ," said Graham. "If we begin tinkering with provisions of the MCA, it will slow efforts to bring terrorists to justice.  Some of the masterminds of the 9/11 attack on America are being held at Guantanamo Bay .  I'm ready to see them stand trial and suffer the consequences of their actions against the United States . It's time for justice to be served, not delayed.


“I cannot think of a better way to undercut the War on Terror than to adopt the theory that Al Qaeda members are common criminals, not global warriors,” concluded Graham.



Sep 19 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Webb Amendment to the Senate Defense Authorization bill.

The amendment was a power-grab which sought to take the responsibility of setting troop rotation schedules away from the military and President and give it to the Congress.  War opponents have touted the amendment as one means of ending the troop surge in Iraq.

The vote failed by a vote of 56-44.  Sixty votes were required to move forward

“The Webb amendment intended to take care of the troops.  I don’t question anyone’s intent, but if you really want to take care of the troops let them win.

“The Webb amendment was one of the more ill-advised approaches to fighting the War on Terror.  It was a historic constitutional infringement on the power of the Commander in Chief allowing Congress to micromanage troop rotations and deployments.  The amendment would have hurt the brave young men and women fighting the War on Terror and set a terrible precedent for fighting future conflicts.

“The last thing in the world we should do to our troops -- particularly in the name of helping them -- is to put 535 Members of Congress in charge of troop rotations as we fight the War on Terror.  With an approval rating below 20 percent, Congress has not risen to the level of being visionary leaders.

“The Webb amendment was a back door attempt to stop the war in Iraq by restricting the available manpower.    I’m very pleased the Senate rejected this ill-advised amendment.”


Sep 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on the testimony of General David H. Petraeus before the Congress.

“I think General Petraeus’ testimony has been outstanding.  A couple of points he made really stand out to me: 
  • The surge has clearly worked.  The idea of withdrawing troops because of political posturing in Washington will undercut our successes.

  • If we arbitrarily withdraw troops, we will lose the gains that have been made.  We have Al Qaeda on the run and they have been driven out of Anbar Province.  The Sunnis in Anbar turned against Al Qaeda as they did not like living under their control.  It was a huge event both for the future of Iraq and our own national security.

  • General Petraeus has clearly defined the outcome of the War in Iraq in terms of our national interests.  There’s no doubt it is in our own national security interests to have a stable, secure Iraq. 

  • If Iraq fails and breaks apart Al Qaeda could reemerge and use it as a safe haven.  There could be a war between the Kurds and Turks in the north of Iraq.  We could have a Sunni-Shia civil war spread throughout the Middle East.  And Iran, led by a ruthless, brutal, and very dangerous man, could dominate parts of Iraq.  Each of these outcomes poses dangers to our own national security.

“We should continue to allow General Petraeus and the troops to execute their mission.  Together they have done a wonderful job brining about a level of security and success which has not been achieved before. 

“In the Senate, I will continue to fight any effort which undercuts the ability of General Petraeus to maneuver and execute the military operations as he sees fit.”




Sep 11 2007

WASHINGTON – South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced they have returned their blue slips for the nomination of 4th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Steve Matthews of South Carolina with a positive recommendation.  The slips were issued by and immediately returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

The blue slip is a process where the home-state Senators express their support or disapproval of a nominee.  Positive blue slip recommendations allow a judicial nomination to proceed to consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Steve Matthews is an outstanding choice,” said Graham. “He has a keen legal mind and is a man of integrity.  I fully support him and hope the Senate will give him a quick and fair hearing.”

"I'm proud to support Steve Matthews and I hope he will be confirmed quickly," said Senator Jim DeMint. "Steve has the experience, intellect and integrity necessary to serve on one of our nation's highest courts. He will be a strong addition to the Fourth Circuit."

Matthews will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William ‘Billy’ Wilkins of Greenville.  The Fourth Circuit covers the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.       


Sep 10 2007

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of 31 senators have written to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) calling on him to repudiate the ad today by in the New York Times calling David Petraeus, Commanding General of Multi-National Forces Iraq, ‘General Betray Us.’

“Senator Reid, please join us in making it clear that you do not share the views of, and that you will not join in attacking the character of this fine officer,” wrote the Senators.  “It is important that all officials in positions of responsibility speak out and defend General Petraeus as the honest and honorable military leader he is.  From his years of service to our country and the important position he currently holds, he has certainly earned it.”

The letter was circulated by Senator Lindsey Graham and signed by Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Norman Coleman, Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl, Charles Grassley, Kit Bond, Bob Corker, Mel Martinez, Richard Burr, Johnny Isakson, Susan Collins, Wayne Allard, Judd Gregg, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mike Enzi, Saxby Chambliss, Lamar Alexander, Pat Roberts, David Vitter, John Barrasso, Pete Domenici, Sam Brownback, Jeff Sessions, John Cornyn, Olympia Snowe, Sam Brownback, Elizabeth Dole, John Warner, and John Ensign.

“The ad is distasteful and frankly, below the level of respect that America's commanding general in Iraq has earned,” wrote the Senators.  “No matter whether any senator supports or opposes the war in Iraq, we should all voice recognition and appreciation of General Petraeus' long and distinguished record of service to our country.

“The future of America's involvement there is of paramount importance to our country and, while we believe fervently in the right of free speech, we also believe that it is possible and proper to conduct this debate without besmirching our brave men and women in uniform.”