Nov 20 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Calhoun County Metal Health Association will receive a $342,500 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities grant. The grant program provides capital advance financing and rental assistance to non-profit organizations. The funds are to be used for the development and operation of supportive housing to enable persons with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community. “This program will help empower disabled persons in Calhoun County,” said Graham. “It is important that we continue to provide the necessary resources to enable those in need of assistance to become active participants in the community.” The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####

Nov 20 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced $9.8 million in federal funding for non-profit organizations to develop and operate supportive housing for the elderly in North Augusta, Sumter and North. The Supportive Housing for the Elderly Funding program provides capital advance financing and rental assistance to non-profit organizations. “Senior citizens have given so much to the development and defense of our country,” said Graham. “They truly are America’s greatest generation, and we have a responsibility to see that they are cared for and treated with dignity and respect.” North Augusta $3.5 million has been approved for Georgia Rehabilitation Institute to construct 40 one-bedroom units for the very low-income elderly in North Augusta. The project will be designed to be handicap accessible, and two percent of the rooms will be designed for visual or hearing impairments. Sumter $4.6 million has been approved for the John H. Wellons Foundation to construct 53 one-bedroom units for the very low-income elderly in Sumter. The project will be designed for accessibility to all for “aging in place” and some units will be fully handicap equipped. North $1.7 million has been approved for the Orangeburg County Council on Aging to construct 20 one-bedroom units for the very low-income elderly in North. Two units will be fully accessible according to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, and one unit will be designed to meet the needs of the visually or hearing impaired. The project funding is made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####

Nov 19 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate unanimously passed the 2004 Veterans’ Affairs, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. The bill contains $5.7 million dollars for South Carolina projects. “The funding provided for South Carolina projects in this bill is extremely important because it supports actual bricks and mortar construction projects,” said Graham. “These are tangible improvements in a variety of areas including water infrastructure, education, economic development, housing and others. These projects truly improve the lives of South Carolinians and promote future economic development.” South Carolina Projects Included in the Bill
  • $2 million increase in funding for the School of Science and Mathematics at the College of Charleston to enhance and expand science and technology programs;
  • $1.2 million to the Town of Ravenel for the construction of a main sewer transmission line along US HWY 17;
  • $1 million to the Five Rivers Community Development Corporation in Georgetown for economic development and affordable housing;
  • $1 million to the Commission of Public Works of the City of Charleston for wastewater tunnel replacement;
  • $1 million Rock Hill for the revitalization and development of the Arcade-Westside area of Rock Hill;
  • $500,000 to the Winchester Conservation Museum for building expansion.
The bill must now go to conference with the House of Representatives and be signed into law by President Bush. ####

Nov 19 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $370,000 in grants to fire departments in Fountain Inn, Greenville, Latta and Pacolet. “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. Fountain Inn Greenpond Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Unit will receive $41,535. Greenville Gantt Fire Department will receive $45,434. Latta Dillon County Fire Department- Area 2 will receive $227,156 for the purchase of a new firefighting vehicle. Pacolet Pacolet Station Fire District will receive $65,488. 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. ####

Nov 19 2003

Congress Passes Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Includes Millions for South Carolina Projects and Fully Funds SRS

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the 2004 Energy and Water Appropriations legislation which contained millions of dollars in projects for South Carolina and the Savannah River Site (SRS). “These projects funded in this bill will make the state more attractive for future economic development, business investment, and tourism,” said Graham. “The bill does a lot to help ensure our state’s waterways are navigable and safe for recreational boaters and business. In South Carolina, we are fortunate to have such a wonderful natural environment and this bill takes great steps toward protecting our state’s legacy for today and future generations. “I am proud of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing this bill in a bipartisan manner,” said Graham. “This demonstrates the ability of the Republican leadership to reach out to our Democratic friends and accomplish business that is good for the American people. “At Savannah River Site we’re working to keep the peace,” said Graham. “SRS is playing a leading role in the effort to turn surplus weapons grade plutonium into fuel. They’re also accelerating cleanup of the Site’s Cold War legacy.” Graham noted the bill also amends the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 by adding an additional $20 million for wastewater treatment and water supply projects associated with Lakes Marion and Moultrie and adding $5 million dollars for wastewater infrastructure in Charleston. The bill will now go to President Bush for his signature. South Carolina Related Projects
  • $23.5 million for a nationwide university reactor fuel program. The bill encourages the U.S. Department of Energy to support the new program at the University of South Carolina, and congratulates the state for creating one of the first new graduate programs in nuclear engineering in the last 20 years.
  • $16.42 million for the Russell Dam and Lake for construction, operations and maintenance (SC & GA);
  • $13.96 million for Lake Hartwell operations and maintenance (SC & GA);
  • $11.747 million for J. Strom Thurmond Lake for operation and maintenance (SC & GA);
  • $10 million for Charleston Harbor operations and maintenance;
  • $5.5 million for the Thurmond Lake Powerhouse for major rehabilitation (SC & GA);
  • $5 million for the deepening and widening of Charleston Harbor;
  • $4.35 million for Lake Russell wildlife mitigation payments to South Carolina and Georgia;
  • $3.38 million to the Cooper River for operations and maintenance;
  • $2.719 million to Georgetown Harbor for the dredging of Sampit River and Upper Winyah Bay, and for operations and maintenance;
  • $2.2 million to the University of South Carolina for expanding clean energy research and education programs;
  • $1.432 million to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway for operations and maintenance;
  • $1 million for the Coastal Research Center at MUSC;
  • $500,000 for the Claflin University Science Center;
  • $500,000 for planning the expansion of Savannah Harbor (SC & GA);
  • $400,000 to Folly River for operations and maintenance in 7 miles of channel;
  • $430,000 to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway for general investigations of river dredging;
  • $419,000 to Town Creek for operations and maintenance;
  • $350,000 to Lakes Marion and Moultrie for general stewardship;
  • $300,000 for the Aquatic Plant Control Program, a statewide management of nuisance aquatic plant problems in public waters;
  • $250,000 for the University of South Carolina to study groundwater contamination;
  • $229,000 for the Corps of Engineers to conduct project condition surveys throughout the state;
  • $200,000 to the Savannah River Basin for general investigation;
  • $200,000 to Folly Beach for general construction;
  • $200,000 for Corps of Engineer planning activities in Georgetown and Williamsburg counties;
  • $170,000 to the Reedy River for general investigation;
  • $100,000 to Pawleys Island for pre-construction engineering and design;
  • $100,000 to the Broad River Basin for general investigation;
  • $100,000 to Edisto Island for an erosion study;
  • $100,000 for Savannah Harbor sediment control (SC & GA);
  • $75,000 for the Santee Delta Environmental Restoration;
  • $50,000 to the Waccamaw River for general investigation;
  • $45,000 to Murrells Inlet for operations and maintenance;
  • $26,000 for the Corp of Engineers to inspect completed projects.
Savannah River Site The bill fully funds the daily operation of SRS, including specific money for the following projects:
  • $402 million for the MOX fuel fabrication facility;
  • $75 million for the construction of the tritium extraction facility;
  • $20.259 million for a second glass storage building;
  • $13.6 million for the construction of the pit disassembly and conversion facility;
  • $2.75 million for cleaning and loading modifications. This procurement is for long lead procurement of engineered equipment for the Tritium Facilities at SRS;
  • $1.134 million for container surveillance.
In addition, the bill provides $10.81 million for the Modern Pit Facility (MPF). SRS is one of several potential sites for locating the MPF. Site selection is expected by early next year. #####

Nov 18 2003

Textile Industry Receives Protection from Chinese Imports

Safeguard Relief Provisions Activated by Bush Administration

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased the Bush Administration had decided to implement the China safeguard relief provisions to protect the textile industry. The safeguards re-establish a quota on unrestricted textile and apparel categories – such as knit fabric, dressing gowns and robes, and bras – for a period of one year and could be expanded for two additional one-year periods. “I’m very pleased the Bush Administration has decided to implement the safeguard protections,” said Graham. “There’s no question the Chinese have been cheating and profiting from unfair trade practices. The safeguards are one way to show the Chinese that their conduct is out of bounds and we aren’t going to put up with it. I applaud Commerce Secretary Don Evans and President Bush for taking meaningful steps to combat China’s cheating.” Graham blamed the Chinese for intentionally manipulating the value of their currency creating a competitive disadvantage for American producers. He noted the Chinese yuan has been tightly pegged to the US dollar in a range of 8.3 yuan per dollar since 1994. Given China's enormous growth over the past decade, this fixed level most likely does not reflect its true value. If the yuan were allowed to float freely, like other major currencies, many economists believe it would appreciate substantially against the U.S. dollar. Economists at Goldman Sachs have estimated that the yuan may be undervalued by 15 percent and other experts say that number could be as high as 40 percent, meaning that the Chinese intentionally lower their currency's value to make their goods and services cheap internationally. The practical effect of this currency manipulation means Chinese manufacturers receive a 15 percent to 40 percent discount on their exports, providing them with a nearly insurmountable advantage over American producers. “There has been a perfect storm brewing in China which is trying to destroy what remains of the textile industry,” said Graham. “China’s access to the U.S. textile and apparel market more than doubled in 2002, growing by an astounding 117 percent and is up an additional 114 percent so far in 2003. “We have lost thousands of textile jobs in South Carolina, not because the Chinese work harder or smarter, but simply because they are cheating,” said Graham. “The American textile worker can compete with anyone given a fair opportunity. Unfortunately, that opportunity does not exist in today’s’ economy.” Graham noted he will also continue to push legislation he introduced with Senators Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) which imposes a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese imports if they do not put an end to currency manipulation. The legislation, S. 1586, allows the President to remove sanctions once he certifies that China has moved to a market-based currency. The tariffs would kick in after a 180 day grace period to ensure that Treasury officials have adequate time to work with the Chinese to institute reforms. The U.S. Senate is on record in support of changing the Chinese currency practices. Last month, the body passed Senate Resolution 219 calling on China to abide by its international agreements and adopt a market-based system of currency valuation. The resolution passed Senate late last month without a single dissenting vote. “The textile industry provides jobs and benefits to hundreds of thousands of Americans,” said Graham. “The Bush Administration was right to protect these jobs from a communist dictatorship that manipulates and cheats rather than follow the rule of law. But there’s still more that needs to be done.” ####

Nov 18 2003

Statement from Senator Lindsey Graham

Introduction of the Social Security Solvency and Modernization Act

Social Security is the most popular government program in American history. It has provided a safety net for millions of retirees, survivors and persons with disabilities. I know. My family is one of them. I was 22 and my sister was 13 when we lost both my parents. The illnesses were expensive and times were tough. My sister received Social Security survivors’ benefits so I know how important Social Security is to families. That’s why my commitment to the program is strong and unwavering. Unfortunately, Social Security as it’s currently structured is not sustainable. The program must be reformed. The problems facing Social Security are mainly due to demographic changes in the United States. The problems are serious and they include:
  • Fewer workers supporting retirees. When Social Security was created, there were over 40 workers for every retiree. In 1950, there were 16 workers supporting 1 retiree. Today, the ratio is 3 to 1. Within a generation, the ratio will drop to 2 to 1.
  • Cash Deficits and Reduced Benefits. The Trustees of Social Security have warned us of serious, structural problems facing the system. In 2018, for the first time in history, the program will begin to pay out more in benefits than it takes in as taxes. In 2042, the “trust fund” will be broke and unable to pay full benefits to retirees.
  • Baby Boomers Retirement. The oldest baby boomers will be eligible to retire in just 5 short years. Between 2011 and 2030, the number of beneficiaries will increase 65 percent while the working, taxpaying population will increase only 8 percent.
Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) summed it up best in the Final Report of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security when he wrote, “… Social Security is in need of an overhaul. The system is not sustainable as it is currently structured.” It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to work together to modernize Social Security in a responsible way and bring the political blame game to an end. To keep Social Security solvent in the future, we have three choices. We can raise payroll taxes by 50 percent or cut benefits by 30 percent. The first choice will devastate the economy. The second choice will devastate those relying on Social Security. Some have suggested putting Social Security in a ‘lockbox’ will save the system. However, the Social Security Administration says even with a lockbox, the system will still go bankrupt. Fortunately for us there is a third choice -- modernize the system through innovative reforms that include personal accounts. The plan I introduce today combines the best of traditional Social Security system with the opportunity for younger workers at all income levels to build a retirement nest egg through personal accounts. Personal accounts would provide safe investment options similar to those now available to federal employees and improve on a system that will provide low – if not negative – growth rates for younger workers. It also provides stronger anti-poverty protections than are present in today’s system. Current retirees, workers 55 and older, and persons with disabilities would remain in today’s system with no changes to benefits, taxes, or annual cost of living adjustments. For workers 54 and younger, my plan gives workers the choice to join a modernized system that provides future retirees an inflation-indexed traditional benefit from Social Security that is at least as high as the benefits received by retirees today plus a personal retirement account. Workers would have the opportunity to set aside 4 percentage points of the social security taxes (up to $1,300 annually) in a personal retirement account that they would own and control. Workers would be permitted to invest their contributions in stock and bond index funds. These investments would build value over time. At retirement, workers could draw on their account assets to help pay their monthly Social Security benefits or pass their account onto their heirs. For the first time, workers of all income levels would be given ownership and control over part of their Social Security contributions. With greater returns, there will be more at stake. The key is to minimize any risk through diversification, long holding periods, and investor education. A modernized Social Security system would also keep the majority of Social Security funds in the traditional system to provide a safety net. Those who don't want to take part in a modernized system could choose to keep all their Social Security money in the traditional system and receive today’s benefit levels if they are willing to pay more to maintain that system. Initially, workers selecting this option would pay an additional 2 percent of their wages into Social Security. Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining Social Security into the future will continue to increase. So, workers would pay increasingly higher tax rates over time. My plan makes no false promises – each option leads to solvency for the system and will substantially reduce the cost of Social Security sparing future generations from being buried under a mountain of debt. We can save and protect the most successful domestic program in history if we act soon. If we delay, the impact of the demographic tidal wave looming on the horizon will swamp our children and grandchildren with a massive amount of debt. If people don’t like the idea of modernizing Social Security with personal accounts, they should come up with something else. Let’s debate all of the options and examine what different plans would mean for putting Social Security back on solid footing. In the absence of reform, future Congresses will find it increasingly difficult to fund other priorities including defense, health care, homeland security, and education without skyrocketing tax rates on our children and grandchildren. I believe the first step toward a bipartisan agreement on the pressing need to reform the system was taken earlier this year when six members of the Senate and ten members of the House of Representatives agreed to a cease-fire on Social Security. In the letter, written by my office with Congressman Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), we pledged to defend candidates – Republican and Democrat – who support Social Security modernization and are willing to make the tough choices to address the fiscal challenges facing Social Security. No longer will we turn a blind eye to political attack ads that accuse responsible reform advocates of wanting to dismantle Social Security or slash benefits of current retirees. It’s sad but true that some politicians will try to frighten people into doing nothing. They will say we shouldn’t prepare for any changes, the future will take care of itself or the worst possible answer, we’ll just wait and let future generations sort out the mess. Social Security is going broke. No matter how hard we try to ignore the warnings or how far we stick our heads in the sand, we won’t fix the problem until we roll up our sleeves and get to work. I applaud President Bush for taking the initiative to begin preparing for the eventual changes that must be made to keep the Social Security solvent. He’s working in a bipartisan manner to put the program on solid financial footing. I fully support his effort and want to be part of the effort to keep Social Security on solid ground for future generations. When it comes to Social Security, the most devastating option we could choose is to do nothing. That would doom the system to bankruptcy and in my opinion, is simply not acceptable. #####

Nov 12 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Congress has approved the 2004 Defense Authorization Act which provides spending authority for more than $100 million for South Carolina projects and includes several important policy changes to help to modernize military benefits. Graham noted the bill will enhance the ability of the Department of Defense to fulfill its responsibilities and continue the commitment to improve the quality of life for the men and women of the Armed Forces. Graham is a member of the Armed Services Committee which oversees the authorization process in the Senate. “The authorization bill is an essential step in providing the money to keep our national defense infrastructure up and running,” said Graham. “This is also the vehicle through which we make substantive policy changes to improve the lives of the men and women in uniform who sacrifice to protect and defend our way of life,” said Graham. Policy provisions in the bill include: Improved Health Care Benefits for Guard and Reserve Members Graham secured funding for expanded TRICARE coverage in the Iraq Supplemental Appropriations Bill already signed into law. The Authorization bill gives the Department of Defense the authority to spend money on this endeavor. Under the old law, members of the Guard and Reserve and their families could only enroll in TRICARE when called to active duty. The Graham provision allows unemployed reservists and guardsmen and those that are not eligible for health insurance from their employers to enroll fulltime in TRICARE; provides TRICARE coverage to all guardsmen and reservists once they receive orders to deploy, currently they don’t receive their benefits until they actually deploy; allows all reservists and guardsmen to stay on TRICARE six months after deployment to ease the transition back to their private insurance. “I am pleased that my colleagues have come together in a bipartisan fashion to improve healthcare for the brave men and women who valiantly serve our country in the Guard and Reserves and their families” said Graham. “The sacrifices they make to defend our freedom deserve to be rewarded. This is an extremely significant step toward repaying their efforts; however, there is more to be done and more to come.” Concurrent Receipt The bill authorizes a 10-year phase-in of full concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation for active duty and reserve retirees with disability ratings of 50 percent or greater. Passage of this benefit has been a priority for the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other veterans organizations. Pay Raise The bill authorizes an average 4.15 percent across the board pay raise for all uniformed service personnel, with targeted pay raises ranging from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent for mid-career service members. Special Duty Pay The bill authorizes the continuation of special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger in the amount of $225 per month through December 31, 2004. Family Separation Allowances The bill authorizes the continuation of family separation allowances in the amount of $250 per month through December 31, 2004. Commissary Privilege for Guard and Reserve Members The bill removes the limit on the number of visits Guard and Reserve members can make per year to commissaries. Graham introduced this provision in the Armed Services Committee and led the fight for its inclusion in the bill. Additionally, the bill grants use of the commissary to reserve retirees under the age of 60. Equal access to commissary stores is a benefit that recognizes the increased responsibility of the reserve forces for homeland defense and worldwide deployment and helps to ensure continued patronage of commissaries experiencing reduced income. This also provides a proven incentive for recruiting and retaining military members. The bill also authorizes spending for South Carolina related projects that were included in the 2004 Defense Appropriations Bill. Highlights of the projects include: South Carolina Upstate<.u>
  • $26 million for P-3 aircraft Anti-Surface Warfare kits in Greenville. The Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement program greatly expands the P-3C’s capabilities and includes additional advanced technology sensors, expanded communication systems, upgraded weapon delivery capabilities, and survivability upgrades.
  • $9.2 million for Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) to fund prototype development in Greenville.
  • $1.2 million for Formidable Aligned Carbon ThermoSets (FACTS), a new composite product for naval aircraft construction. FACTS will allow the design and fabrication of much more efficient designs significantly lowering airframe weight.
South Carolina Midlands
  • $8.5 million for construction of Shaw Deployment Center, Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter. These funds were appropriated today in the 2004 Military Construction Appropriations Bill.
  • $5 million for M-249 Squad Automatic Weapons (Army) and $4 million for M-249 Squad Automatic Weapons (Marines) produced in Columbia. The M-249 is a portable, high-fire volume, highly reliable light machine gun which serves as one of the Army infantry and Marines most valuable weapon systems. In addition, the bill authorizes an additional $18.8 million for the Army and $6 million for the Marines to purchase additional weapons.
  • $1.2 million for the development of an Advanced Electric Drive for military use.
South Carolina Lowcountry
  • $8.863 million for construction of Charleston Air Force Base housing. These funds were appropriated today in the 2004 Military Construction Appropriations Bill.
  • $2 million for the development of an Autolog System, a concept that uses multi-point stabilization to overcome the pendulations problems on existing shipboard cranes. Research will be conducted in Charleston.
  • $2.25 million for continued development of multi-spectral Barium GaloGermanite (BGG) glass window technology, an essential component for airborne reconnaissance systems. Research and development of BGG glass is conducted in Hilton Head.
  • $2.8 million for the procurement of Quadrangle Containers, produced in Charleston. These shipping containers divide into four separate sections to aid in transport by facilitating the loading and unloading process.
  • $2.1 million for further development of Lean Munitions, designed to reduce the time necessary to design, manufacture and test munitions to keep pace with the Army’s increased operational tempo.
  • $2.35 million for the Charleston Naval Weapons Station South Annex Gate 4. These funds were appropriated today in the 2004 Military Construction Appropriations Bill.
  • $1.5 million in additional funds for the Consolidated Infrastructure Protection Center (CIPC) at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in Charleston.
Misc.
  • $5 million for Eagle Vision which provides the National Guard, including the South Carolina National Guard, with in-theater, real-time acquisition and processing of commercial satellite imagery of our adversary’s territory.
“Our state is the tip of the spear for our nation’s armed services,” said Graham. “South Carolina is also a leader in military technology and plays a vital role in the war on terrorism. The men and women stationed here, both active duty and reserve components, play a major role in defending American interests around the world and providing freedom.” “I am proud to be from a state that is invaluable to America’s fighting force,” said Graham. “We provide the human assets and support systems that make the U.S. military the world’s premier fighting force.” ####

Nov 11 2003

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said the treatment of President Bush’s nominees to the federal bench has been one of the low points of his first year in the Senate. Graham said he looks forward to the 30-hour, round the clock ‘Justice for Judges’ debate scheduled to begin late Wednesday and conclude Friday morning. As one of the new members to the Senate and one of the leaders of the push to bring additional pressure on the Senators holding the nominations hostage, Graham is scheduled to be on the floor during the late evening Wednesday starting about midnight and finishing up early Thursday morning. He’ll be joined in the early morning hours by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) fellow freshmen Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) and Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota). “Democrats, abusing the rules of the Senate, have changed the requirement for getting a judicial nominee confirmed from a simple majority of 51 votes to a 60 vote supermajority,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It’s without precedent and marks the first time in American history a judicial nominee has been defeated by partisan filibuster. We need to break these filibusters, and we must do it soon. The presidents’ nominees deserve a straight up or down vote. If they get this, they will be confirmed.” Among the Bush nominees currently being blocked are:
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans,
  • U.S. District Court Judge Charles Pickering to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans,
  • California Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and
  • Alabama Attorney General William ‘Bill’ Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
It is also expected the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the District Court of Columbia Circuit will soon be blocked. Miguel Estrada, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, withdrew his nomination from consideration after Republicans tried and failed on seven different occasions to garner 60 votes. Graham noted Republicans Senators have discussed several options that may be used in an effort to move the nominees forward after the 30-hour debate ends. Among the options considered are bipartisan legislation offered by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) and Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia) to implement a smoother process to handle judicial nominations, filing suit and letting a federal court decide if the Senate is carrying out its duty to ‘advise and consent,’ or changing the Senate rules by a Senator making a point of order declaring the Democrats tactics unconstitutional. “I’m going to continue pushing these nominees forward because it’s just plain wrong the way they’re being treated,” said Graham. “The Senate Democrats should be ashamed of the way they are treating these highly qualified nominees. If the votes are there they should be confirmed. If the votes aren’t, they won’t. Instead, we’re allowing the minority to set a new standard and have virtual veto power over a judicial nominee. The 30-hour debate is the beginning of a new offensive in the effort to push these judges forward.” #####

Nov 06 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today introduced ‘Loser Pays’ legislation in the United States Senate. The bill is designed to encourage settlements and reduce frivolous lawsuits which clog our court system. Graham’s legislation establishes a set of guidelines under which the loser of a lawsuit in federal court could be required to pay the winner’s attorneys’ fees. The bill applies only to cases in which the parties are from different states. In order to receive compensation for attorneys’ fees the winning side must have made a settlement offer that was rejected, and then file a petition with the judge requesting compensation. The judge will make the final determination. “This is responsible and effective legal reform,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Under this bill people will think twice before filing frivolous lawsuits. It will also encourage litigants to settle their differences before they go to trial. People will play around with other people’s money, but when they have a personal financial stake in the lawsuit it will force them and their attorney to more fully consider the merits of their case.” Graham noted gun control groups have filed suits in some states to impose large legal costs on gun manufacturers in pre-trial discovery. In some western states, environmental groups have filed lawsuits to unnecessarily delay development projects, hoping to bankrupt development companies from months of delay. U.S. Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) have already agreed to add their names as co-sponsors of the legislation. Graham also noted he would like to offer the provision as a Senate amendment in the coming months for a floor vote on the measure. “I believe very strongly that citizens of this country have a right to seek damages if they are truly injured or harmed by another,” said Graham. “This bill does not discourage legitimate lawsuits, but it does make those who abuse the system think twice about their actions and the possibility they could face very expensive consequences.” ####