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. ####

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. #####

Feb 22 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Greenwood County Airport will receive a $150,000 grant for taxiway rehabilitation. The funds will be used for the rehabilitation of Taxiway D as it is in poor condition and in need of repair. This project will ensure enhanced safety of ground operations by aircraft using the taxiway at the airport. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. ####

Feb 16 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $580,000 in grants to fire departments in Dillon, Lyman, Olanta, Pageland, and Taylors. “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: Dillon Floyd Dale Rescue and Fire Department will receive a $172,800 Firefighting Vehicle Grant. Lyman Tyger River Fire Service Area will receive a $115,388 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Olanta Olanta Rural Fire Department will receive a $225,000 Firefighting Vehicle Grant. Pageland High Point Fire District will receive a $15,576 Fire Prevention Grant. Taylors Taylors Fire Department will receive a $60,185 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 14 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Mitford Rural Water District in Fairfield County will receive an $800,000 grant and $1.004 million loan. The funds will be used for an expansion to the current water system. The expansion consists of the construction of 241,000 feet of waterlines. The expansion adds an additional 32 users. When completed, the project will have 962 residential users and 25 other users. #####

Feb 10 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced over $4.8 million in grants to South Carolina airports. “Airports play a vital role in growing the local economy by making the area more attractive for economic development and business recruitment,” said Graham. “These grants are an investment in the future of our state.” Beaufort County Airport: Will receive $1,021,250 for construction of a partial parallel taxiway to accommodate general aviation and improve safety of aircraft operating at the airport. The project will also allow for the rehabilitation and expansion of the existing aircraft apron to maintain pavement investment, increase the existing aircraft parking area, and enhance aircraft operational safety. Conway-Horry County Airport: Will receive $150,000 to allow a second phase of perimeter fencing to be installed at the airport. Darlington County Jetport: Will receive $776,620 for a 500-foot extension. Funds will also be used to improve the current runway safety area to enhance safety to airport users. This project will provide for the relocation of an airport road to allow for recommended improvements to the apron area. Greenville Spartanburg International Airport: Will receive $2,690,695 for the construction of a new interstate interchange and rehabilitation of runway lighting. The new interchange will improve safety and capacity. The grant will provide for the widening of GSP Drive to provide a more efficient access road system. Replacement of existing problematic regulators in the airfield lighting vault will be accomplished in this grant. In addition, the emergency generator system will be replaced due to age and occurring failures. Lancaster County-Mc Whirter Field: Will receive $ 150,000 to rehabilitate the existing runway edge lighting system. North Myrtle Beach: Grand Strand Will receive $205,000 for the upgrading of existing airport airfield signage to increase airport safety Orangeburg Municipal Airport: Will receive $510,000 for the expansion of the existing apron area to accommodate increasing aircraft parking demand and safe ground operations. #####

Feb 09 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $400,000 in grants to fire departments in Anderson, Bennettsville, Boiling Springs, Columbia, Cope, Pacolet, and Pawleys Island. “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 two 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.
  • 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: Anderson Flatrock Bowen Fire Department will receive a $57,610 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Bennettsville City of Bennettsville Fire Department will receive a $4,500 Fire Prevention Grant. Boiling Springs Boiling Springs Fire Department will receive a $61,015 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Columbia EdVenture Children’s Museum will receive a $36,103 Fire Prevention Grant. Cope Canaan Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $119,288 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Pacolet Pacolet Station Fire District will receive a $98,811 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Pawleys Island Midway Fire and Rescue will receive a $22,804 Fire Prevention 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 09 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today was joined with by a bipartisan group of Senators and Congressmen to introduce The Guard and Reserve Readiness and Retention Act of 2005. The legislation improves healthcare benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves by allowing them to enroll in TRICARE for a monthly premium regardless of their activation status. TRICARE is the military healthcare system. In addition, the legislation provides for a decrease in retirement age based on years of service. Under current law, the retirement age is 60. Under the proposal, if an individual serves for 22 years, they are eligible for retirement at 59. An individual entering military service at 18 and serving for 34 years could begin receiving his or her retirement benefits at 53. “This reform package provides better health coverage and a fair retirement system that promotes retention,” said Graham, who serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and is a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. “It will ensure that Guard and Reserve personnel and their families are justly compensated for their service. The increased demands placed on the men and women who serve this country in a part-time capacity require a modernization of their benefits. We must be sure to take care of every person who puts their life on the line to fight for liberty and freedom throughout the world.” “Guardsmen and Reservists are citizen-soldiers,” said Graham. “Increasingly they are being called up, taken away from their work and families, and being sent to far-away lands for long tours of duty. We need to ensure the benefits they are receiving are equal to the sacrifice they are making to protect our country and interests around the world.” “Now is the time to act,” said Graham. “There is momentum in Congress for improving Guard and Reserve benefits, and we need to continue to build on the progress we made last year. The ultimate goal is to provide these men and women with the option to enroll in TRICARE full time.” In October 2004, Graham worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to push into law additional health care benefits for members of the Guard and Reserve. Under that provision, Guardsmen and Reservists who serve on active duty under federal orders for 90 consecutive days will be eligible for one year of TRICARE coverage. For every additional 90 days of service they will be eligible for an additional year of health care coverage. The Department of Defense will pay 72 percent of the cost and the reservist will be responsible for paying the remaining 28 percent. Also included was a provision allowing Guardsmen and Reservists to become eligible for TRICARE upon receiving their activation orders and the ability to remain on the healthcare system for 180 days after they are deactivated. The provision applies to all members of the Guard and Reserve regardless of the length of time activated. “We’re going to continue pushing for better health care benefits for our citizen-soldiers,” said Graham. “The National Guard and Reserves have been called upon more often to help protect this country and defend American interests,” said Graham. “They are playing a vital role in Operation Iraqi Freedom and are an integral part of the war on terrorism. They need to be rewarded and justly compensated for their service to our nation.” ##### Guard and Reserve Readiness and Retention Act of 2005 This bipartisan legislation would promote recruitment, readiness, and retention by offering TRICARE eligibility to members of the Guard and Reserve for a modest monthly premium and by reducing the age at which a Reservist can receive retirement benefits based on his or her years of service. BILL PROVISIONS: RETIREMENT: Currently, Reservists and Guardsmen receive retirement benefits at age 60. With this legislation, however, for every two years of service over twenty, a Guardsman or Reservist would receive benefits one year earlier. For example, after 22 years of service, a member of the Reserve Component would receive benefits at age 59; after 24 years, age 58, and so on. This would promote retention at our most experienced levels of service. HEALTHCARE: Building on last year’s progress in the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, this legislation would offer full-time TRICARE eligibility to members of the Reserve Component for a monthly premium. OUR SECURITY RELIES INCREASINGLY ON A STRONG RESERVE FORCE: The Reserves have played an integral role in every military operation since Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Their overall activity level, measured by annual duty days, has risen from about 1 million in the late 1980s to more than 12 million in every year since 1996. For example, the Reserves have taken charge of the entire peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. In Iraq, Guard and Reserve troops have rotated with active-duty forces, increasing their share of the total U.S. force to about 40 percent. DISPARITY BETWEEN RESERVISTS AND OTHER “PART-TIME” FEDERAL EMPLOYEES New part-time federal employees hired into permanent positions may join the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) at the start of their employment by paying a higher premium. In addition, a part-time federal employee must work a minimum of 16 hours per week to be eligible for healthcare while Reservists, who receive only conditional healthcare until activated, are required to work one weekend per month, two weeks per year, AND be prepared to deploy. We are asking that this disparity be corrected by offering Reservists the same options as other “part-time” federal employees. THE RESERVES FACE A RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION CRISIS: “This is the first extended?duration war our nation has fought with an all?volunteer force,” said [Lt. General James R.] Helmly. “We must be sensitive to that. And we must apply proactive, preventive measures to prevent a recruiting?retention crisis.” [Wash. Post, 01/21/04] “The Army National Guard is 15,000 soldiers below its normal strength and is hoping to make up the difference by September. Last month, the Guard met 56% of its monthly recruiting goal.” [Los Angeles Times, 02/03/05] “Given this implementation (DOD’s current mobilization scheme), DOD could eventually run out of forces.” [General Accounting Office, GAO-05-285T, released 2005] National Guard and Reserve Issues in the News Houston Chronicle January 2, 2005 “With reservists accounting for 40 percent of the U.S. force in Iraq - a percentage expected to slightly increase this year - the National Guard is struggling. It fell about 7,000 soldiers short in 2003 of the 56,000 soldiers needed to maintain a 350,000-soldier force. Last year, the Guard was 10,000 soldiers short and facing an even bigger recruiting goal, 63,000 this year.” Los Angeles Times January 6, 2005 “Given the demands that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed on men and women who had planned on being part-time soldiers, the Army Reserve is "in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements" and is "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force," [Lt. Gen. James R.] Helmly wrote. I do not wish to sound alarmist. I do wish to send a clear, distinctive signal of deepening concern," Helmly said.” Washington Post February 3, 2005 “Massing enough troops for another rotation in Iraq will be ‘painful’ and may eventually require the Pentagon to adopt policies that would extend the two-year limit on the mobilization of reserves, a senior Army leader told Congress yesterday. Right now we have 650,000 soldiers on active duty executing missions worldwide, and many of them have met their 24-month cumulative time, so we'll have to address this," Gen. Richard A. Cody testified before the House Armed Services Committee. Yesterday's testimony underscored a debate brewing in the Pentagon over how to meet the long-term demands of the war on terrorism. The Pentagon now limits reserves to a total of 24 months of active duty, but the Army is considering seeking an extension to allow for longer and more frequent deployments of reservists.” Army Times January 17, 2005 “The Army Reserve has about 200,000 soldiers, and since Sept. 11, 2001, has deployed 65,000 in the global war on terrorism, mainly in Iraq, where it accounts for about 40 percent of all U.S. forces. Meanwhile, a published report said Army leaders want the authority to order some Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers to serve longer and more frequent deployments. The proposed policy would be contingent on making permanent what is supposed to be a temporary increase of 30,000 troops to the active component.”

Feb 03 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today joined with Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) to introduce legislation placing a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese goods entering the United States. The tariff legislation is in response to China’s decision to continue pegging their currency at a rate of 8.28 yuan to $1 American dollar. “It’s pretty simple – China cheats,” said Graham. “They artificially peg their currency below its true value making their goods cheaper. “Words alone will not change China's behavior,” said Graham. “We've talked this issue to death. It is now time to act.” Economists have estimated the yuan may be undervalued by 15 to 40 percent. China intentionally lowers their currency's value making their goods and services cheap internationally. When Chinese manufacturers export a product, it receives a 15 percent to 40 percent discount which provides them with a nearly insurmountable advantage over U.S. producers. “It’s not about being outworked, or being smarter than the American worker, it’s really about American companies fighting the Chinese government,” said Graham. “I think most American consumers want to make sure that American businesses are protected.” “This is a common ground between Republicans and Democrats, supported by the American manufacturing community,” said Graham. “It’s my belief that if the bill goes to the floor of the U.S. Senate, it will pass.” “The Schumer-Graham legislation gives China ample time to make the necessary, structural changes to the valuation of their currency,” said Graham. “If China wants to be part of the international community, it’s time for them to clean up their act. Until they are reigned in and start playing by the rules, our manufacturing industry will continue to bleed jobs because of unfair Chinese trade practices.” “We need to have a policy of engagement with China that is serious across the board,” said Graham. “Intellectual property theft, manipulating currency, transshipping goods -- there is a variety of activities they engage in that are costing us jobs in the United States. We need to address all of these issues. The tariff bill is a good way to get the Chinese’s attention and show them we are very serious about their cheating.” ##### Summary of the Legislation The legislation helps American workers by addressing the growing problem of China's deliberate undervaluing of its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage. It encourages negotiation with China to level the playing field so that China's goods compete at their true market value. The legislation reduces the export advantage provided by China's unfairly and illegally undervalued currency. After a six-month negotiation period between the US and China, if such negotiations are not successful, the amendment would institute a 27.5 percent tariff on all China's exports to the United States that is symmetrical to China's currency advantage. Most economists estimate China's currency is undervalued between 15 percent and 40 percent; 27.5 percent is at the midpoint of that range. This tariff would apply across the board to products from China and would lay on top of any current tariffs that may apply. If the President determines after 6 months that China is making significant progress towards revaluing its currency, he may delay imposition of the tariff for another 6 months. At the end of the second 6 months, if the President determines that China has developed and started actual implementation of a plan to revalue its currency, he may delay imposition of the tariff for another 12 months. Provides the President with the authority to remove the tariff. The President could remove the tariff once he certifies to Congress that China has agreed to substantially revalue its currency upwards to "at or near its fair market value." The legislation does not specify that China adopt a free floating currency, which many argue could further destabilize the Chinese banking system. Establishes a reasonable time period for negotiations. The legislation authorizes sanctions to begin 180 days after enactment, which allows the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the US Trade Representative, and others a full six months to work with the Chinese Government to institute currency reforms. Works within the framework of international trade laws. Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade allows a member of the World Trade Organization to take "any action which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests," particularly "in time of war or other emergency in international relations". Our nation's manufacturing capability is a vital national interest and we believe it is threatened by China's unfair currency practices.