Jul 18 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on his opposition to the Levin-Reed amendment which mandates American troop withdrawals from Iraq beginning in 120 days.  All American troops would need to be out of Iraq by May 2008.  The amendment was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 52-47. 
After the amendment was defeated, the Democratic leadership of the Senate decided to pull the defense authorization bill from the floor.  The legislation contains provisions to increase pay and benefits, and make available better equipment for our troops.
Graham on the Defeat of the Levin-Reed Amendment:
“This approach would be a disaster for our national security interests both in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.  Al Qaeda is now on the run in Iraq.  They would welcome and rejoice over an American plan to withdraw from the fight.  Local Iraqi populations are beginning to reject Al Qaeda and align themselves with us.  We are now taking territory from Al Qaeda in Iraq and holding it with the assistance of the local population. 
“A congressional mandate to withdraw would be heart-breaking and in all honesty a death sentence, to the Iraqi’s who are aligning with us against Al Qaeda in Iraq.  Had the Levin-Reed resolution passed, this ill-advised approach would have offered tremendous encouragement and spirit to our Al Qaeda enemies in Iraq.  It would have been international news that the United States does not have the stomach for this fight.  I’m proud of the role I played in rejecting this amendment.
“I believe it is important to give General Petraeus time to implement his new strategy for Iraq and to hear what he has to say when he comes before Congress in September.  Other Republicans, including some who were looking for the exits, stiffened their resolve after hearing about the progress being made on the ground with to the new strategy.  The surge is having an effect, both in Iraq and Washington.”
Graham on the Democratic Leadership’s Decision to Pull the Bill from the Senate Floor:
“The common ground we had in the Senate on pay raises, better equipment and improved health care for our troops gave way to the politics of the next election.  The Democratic leadership’s decision to pull the bill is yet another example of their choosing politics over policy.  I’m embarrassed for the Senate because we failed to focus on the needs and welfare of our troops.
“While the troops continue to make us proud, the Congress continues to disappoint.”

Jul 16 2007

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham was a guest on NBC Meet the Press on Sunday, July 15. Here is the video of the show and Senator Graham’s thoughts on the current situation in Iraq and the political debate in the U.S. Senate.

The video is located on the Meet the Press website at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608.

Jul 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased with the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to appoint Earle Joiner Bedenbaugh of Newberry County to serve on the Farm Service Agency’s state committee in South Carolina.

“I’m very pleased President Bush has decided to appoint Earle to this most important position,” said Graham.  “Earle has been a successful agri-businessman and is one of the finest individuals you will ever meet.  He understands our state’s agricultural community and will represent us well in this important position.”

FSA state committees are responsible for the general direction and supervision of state FSA programs.  Committees keep farmers informed of agency program activities while resolving appeals and complaints.  Members also maintain cooperative relationships with the agribusiness community.

Bedenbaugh has farmed for 32 years specializing in seed production, beef cattle and forestry.  As part of the farming operation, he conditioned and processed seed for wholesale and retail sales. 

Bedenbaugh was deputy administrator for state and county operations under the former Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) in Washington, D.C.  He also was the ASCS state executive director and a member of the ASCS state committee in South Carolina.  

Bedenbaugh is very active in many agricultural, government and civic organizations.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry from Clemson University in South Carolina and served in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War.


Jul 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today traveled to the White House to meet with President Bush and discuss the current situation in Iraq .  He made this statement after the Oval Office meeting.



“I appreciate the opportunity to meet with President Bush and brief him on my recent visit to Iraq



“President Bush remains firm in his belief that we must give General Petraeus and our troops time to carry out the new strategy.  He understands the new strategy has already greatly diminished Al Qaeda in Iraq .  The military progress is undeniable, even if the Iraqi political reconciliation efforts have not been as successful. 



“General Petraeus is making great progress in crushing Al Qaeda in Iraq .  Al Qaeda overplayed their hand by engaging in incredible acts of brutality and barbarism against Iraqis living under their control.  In turn, Iraqis are breaking free from them and joining forces with us.  The only thing that would allow Al Qaeda in Iraq to make a comeback would be to prematurely stop the surge.


"The defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq should be our Number 1 priority.  It will lead to a more stable Iraq and a safer world.”



Jul 11 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Lieberman, McCain, Kyl, Graham, and Coleman today introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Defense Authorization Act, confronting the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran over its proxy attacks on American soldiers in Iraq .



The amendment details the publicly available evidence put forward over the past year by General David Petraeus, commanding general of Multi-National Force Iraq, and others about Iran’s violent and destabilizing activities in Iraq .



The amendment states that “the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable act of hostility against the United States,” and demands the government of Iran “take immediate action” to end all forms of support it is providing to Iraqi militias and insurgents. The amendment also mandates a regular report on Iran’s anti-coalition activity in Iraq .



“For many months, our military commanders and diplomats have warned us that the Iranian government has been training, equipping, arming, and funding proxies in Iraq who are murdering our troops,” said Senator Lieberman. “This amendment is a common sense, common ground statement of the Senate to Tehran : we know what you are doing, and you must stop.”



“American officials attest that the government in Teheran seeks to bleed the United States and render unsuccessful our efforts to bring about a stable and self-governing in Iraq ,” said Senator McCain.  “This amendment will send a clear signal:  Iran’s activities in Iraq are wrong, and they must end immediately.”



“The Iranians are attempting to thwart our policies in the Middle East by actively supporting terrorists who are killing our troops in Iraq ,” said Senator Kyl.  “It is time we acknowledge this hostility against us, and this amendment tells the Iranians we will not tolerate any actions which threaten our troops or allies.”



“The evidence is increasingly clear the Iranian government is working to destabilize the Iraqi government,” said Senator Graham.  “It is long past time for Congress to speak out about this destructive behavior by Iran .  We need one voice, and I expect it will be a unified bipartisan voice, speaking out and condemning these actions by the Iranian government.” 



“The United States will not tolerate Iran’s hostile attempts to sabotage our efforts in the Middle East region,” said Senator Coleman.  “On my last trip to Iraq, our Minnesota troops in Southern Iraq showed me Iranian-made explosives that were used against them on convoy missions. This crucial amendment makes it clear to the Iranian government, and any other government in the region that seeks to harm our soldiers, that providing any form of support to Iraqi insurgents will not be tolerated and must cease immediately.”


Jul 03 2007

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Claflin University will receive a $2,499,999 scientific research grant.  The funds will be used for a project entitled, “Implementation: Building Successful Models for Research and Inquiry-Based Learning and Teaching."

The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation.


Jun 28 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Senate immigration bill.

“Several months ago, I met with President Bush at the White House to discuss our out-of-control problems with illegal immigration.  He asked me if I would help him push immigration reform through Congress and I gave him my word I would.  I support President Bush and admire his leadership.  I will be forever grateful for his work to try and solve this difficult problem.

“President Bush and I made it clear we would not compromise on our guiding principle that securing our nation’s borders must be our first priority.  Our plan made unprecedented efforts and provided over $4.4 billion in funding to secure our nation’s borders and deal with immigration in a comprehensive manner. 

“The legislation first and foremost secured our border.  It also established a new comprehensive employee verification system for all workers to ensure people are in the country legally and eligible to work.  We were going to break the cycle of chain migration and institute a new merit-based immigration system to attract the best and brightest from around the world.  And we were instituting a temporary guest worker program to meet our nation’s labor needs.

“If the bill’s failing leads to Congress finding a better solution, then the American people will have won.  If the status quo and broken immigration system continue to go unaddressed, then the American people lost.  I do fear our failure to act will only allow the problem of illegal immigration to grow worse and the anger felt by some Americans will grow more intense. 

“I worry that local and state governments will begin to act more aggressively and create a hodge-podge of laws.  While the President’s legislation was not perfect, it was honest, realistic and an improvement over current law.  Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff, who is responsible for enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, made it clear that in some cases the tools he needs to control illegal immigration are either non-existent or very weak.  I’m disappointed some of the tools he wanted and desperately needed to control illegal immigration were left on the Senate floor.  

“The American people have a historically low view of Congress.  We seem unable to do the public’s business and find consensus on difficult issues. 

“Finally, I want to say a few words about my friend and colleague Jim DeMint.  We found ourselves in an unusual situation.  While we usually agree, President Bush and I have very different views from Jim on the best way to address this contentious issue.  Jim held firm to his beliefs and was a very strong advocate for his position.”


Jun 27 2007

New York Times Editorial says Graham Amendment Creates ‘Gitmos Across America’ to Hold Illegal Immigrants

One of the worst amendments comes from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. It would impose mandatory detention of all people who overstay their visas.  …The cells would be full of people who shouldn’t be there: asylum seekers, the elderly, pregnant women, the sick and those ensnared in paperwork mistakes. Children, like the kindergartners in inmate scrubs walking the halls of a federal detention center outside Austin, Tex. Day laborers, like those in suburban Brewster, N.Y., whose arrests were hailed by a mayor who spoke proudly of his community’s “zero tolerance” for people unlawfully playing soccer in a schoolyard.  The country already detains some 230,000 immigrants a year, at an annual cost of $1.2 billion. Under the current immigration bill, it would build tens of thousands more beds to hold detainees. And it would need many more — Guantánamo Bays across America — if Mr. Graham’s zero-tolerance vision is fully realized. 

Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Supports Immigration Reform

“Immigration reform is a federal issue and we support efforts to achieve a national solution to this challenge to support a uniform approach We oppose any local approach to regulating immigration on the basis that regulation must be consistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  We need immigration laws that are fair and balanced These laws must meet the needs of our growing economy and the test of common sense.  Only through this kind of comprehensive approach can an effective solution be reached.  Securing the national borders is important, but it cannot be accomplished in isolation.”

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Supports Immigration Reform

The current system is clearly broken and we believe the status quo is unacceptable Municipalities and counties throughout South Carolina, as well as our state government, are reacting to a lack of action at the federal level with a patchwork of immigration laws and enforcement.  We fear that local mandates and piecemeal approaches will be unnecessarily costly and expose law-abiding employers to unfair liability This would ultimately undermine our economic strength and negatively impact our station and our nation.”

Charleston Post & Courier Editorial ‘Revive Immigration Reform’

“The Senate shouldn't heed ill-informed foes of the immigration bill, but rather the general public's agreement on realistic reform. The bill's foes should abandon legislative obstructionism and offer practical counter-proposals.  Otherwise, we'll again be stuck with the illegal-immigration status quo, a de facto "amnesty.”

Washington Times ‘Labor Groups, Hispanics hit Senate bill’

“Labor and Hispanic groups yesterday told senators to scrap their immigration bill and go back to the drawing board, saying that the proposal now before the Senate has become too harsh on illegal aliens and a poor deal for U.S. workers.

Washington Times Says New Study Shows Senate Bill Breaking Chain Migration

 “…a new evaluation released by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) yesterday found that the Senate bill would reduce family-based immigration from about two-thirds of current permanent visas to less than half. Employment-based visas would go from less than one-fifth to about two-fifths.  The MPI evaluation said the new point system called for in the bill would also shift the profile of new legal immigrants away from Latin American and Caribbean countries and toward Asian countries, particularly India, China and the Philippines, where recent immigrants have had better English skills and higher educational attainment.”

Fox News Channel Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday

What strikes me about this argument that's made by the opponents of the bill is that they can't really dispute that there's a lot of good stuff in here and strong stuff on border enforcement.  And what they say, when you cite that to them, is they say, "Well, we don't believe them," which is the point Charles [Krauthammer] is making. "We don't believe it."  On the other hand, I wonder if you put the question to them, if this was only border enforcement stuff, would you be for passing that and spending $4.4 billion, and how many more billions of dollars that it might cost to do it -- I assume the answer would be yes, to which my question would be, "Well, why would you be for that if you don't believe it?"

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, National Restaurant Association, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), And National Federation Of Independent Business (NFIB)

"As trade associations representing the full spectrum of the American economy, we applaud the hard work of a bipartisan team of senators and the Administration for their role in crafting S.1348. We realize that many difficult issues will remain, but it is critical that the process moves forward.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman on the Immigration Bill

Farmers need a comprehensive immigration reform bill approved this Congress. ... We have been pushing for a solution for years and we simply cannot wait any longer for Congress to address this issue.” 


Jun 26 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the procedural motion to move the Senate immigration bill debate forward.  Graham voted in support of the motion which passed 64-35.



“The Senate must move forward in fixing our broken immigration system.  It’s a national disgrace to allow the current chaos to continue.  While the reform legislation is not perfect, it is a substantial improvement over current law. 



“The legislation immediately makes 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 legislation also reclaims control of our nation's borders by adding thousands of new Border Patrol agents. 



“Right now, there are more than 1,100 proposed state laws and countless other proposed laws at the city and county level dealing with illegal immigration.  If Congress does not act this year, local and state governments will fill the vacuum and pass a hodge-podge of laws which will be nearly-impossible to comply with. 



“Constructive criticism has led to many improvements in the original legislation.  I expect more amendments may be adopted during the next few days of debate. 



“People are skeptical -- and with good reason -- but we cannot allow this skepticism lead to inaction.  If we do not address immigration reform now the problem will only get worse – not better.”





Jun 26 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today released a June 19 letter from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce expressing support for comprehensive immigration reform.

“The current system is clearly broken and we believe the status quo is unacceptable,” wrote Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Municipalities and counties throughout South Carolina, as well as our state government, are reacting to a lack of action at the federal level with a patchwork of immigration laws and enforcement.  

“We fear that local mandates and piecemeal approaches will be unnecessarily costly and expose law-abiding employers to unfair liability,” said Dean.  “This would ultimately undermine our economic strength and negatively impact our station and our nation.”

The Chamber encouraged Senator Graham to continue working on immigration reform to ensure the final legislation contains stronger border security, a way to recruit future workers through the H2B visa program, a workable employment verification system that will be usable by small businesses, and a measure to ensure current undocumented, law-abiding workers whose skills and employability are necessary to be eligible for legal status.
“The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber and its members realize that many difficult issues remain; however it is critical that the process moves forward,” concluded Dean.  “We support your efforts and urge you to continue to work with the business community as legislation proceeds through the amendment process.”

“I appreciate the Myrtle Beach Chamber for taking a stand on this important issue for the future of our state and nation,” said Graham.  “I understand no two people or organizations will agree on every provision in a major piece of legislation such as this.  We cannot hope and wait for the perfect solution to suddenly come forward because with the passage of time this problem only gets worse, not better.
“Much is at stake for the Senate and the nation as we resume debate on immigration reform,” continued Graham.  “We have a chance to prove 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.”