Mar 16 2005
Social Security Amendments to FY06 Budget
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement in response to Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) comments about the amendment offered by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) to the budget resolution. Graham voted for the resolution. He said: “Senator Harry Reid does not speak for me regarding my vote for Senator Nelson’s resolution. “I personally believe the deficit effects of personal accounts can be solved and should be. Personal accounts are a vital part of the solution mix for Social Security reform. They should be on the table and I intend to keep them there. I also do not intend to oversell or demagogue them either. “I am trying to show bipartisan support for those Senators who are willing to express themselves about Social Security. My vote yesterday was an effort to show support to a Democratic colleague. It should not be turned into opposition to President Bush who I am very proud of in leading this debate. “I completely disagree with Senator Reid’s demagoguery of the personal account issue and hope the spin machine will stop. “Senator Reid seems to be intent on chanting slogans. Some of us in the Senate are intent on finding common ground. “The President is doing the right thing in leaving options on the table while Senator Reid is doing tremendous damage to Social Security reform by taking options off.” #####
Mar 15 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – By a vote of 100-0, the U.S. Senate today passed an amendment to the budget resolution sponsored by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) which details the problems facing Social Security. “The unanimous vote by the Senate today mirrors President Bush’s description of the problems facing Social Security and in that regard is a significant step forward,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “In a unanimous vote, the Senate is now on the record in agreement that Social Security is facing major structural problems. If they are not addressed, it will result in massive tax increases or benefit cuts for younger Americans.” “My hope is that by commonly defining the problem, it will lead to common ground in terms of solutions,” continued Graham. The amendment lays out the priorities for the Senate when it comes to discussing Social Security reform. The Senate agrees that:
- The President, Congress, and the American people including seniors, workers, women, minorities, and disabled persons should work together at the earliest opportunity to enact legislation to achieve a solvent and permanently sustainable Social Security system.
- Social Security reform must protect current and near retirees from any changes to Social Security benefits, reduce the pressure on future taxpayers and other budgetary priorities, provide benefit levels that adequately reflect individual contributions to the Social Security system, and preserve and strengthen the safety net for vulnerable populations including the disabled and survivors.
Mar 14 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Sumter Family Health Center will receive a $644,800 Community Health Center grant. Community Health Center grants are designed to promote the development and operation of community-based primary health care service systems in medically underserved areas. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####
Mar 10 2005
Caps Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Outlays to Initial Estimates
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)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.
Mar 10 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)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
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)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
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)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
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)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
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)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.