Jul 18 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced South Carolina State University will receive a $354,908 grant to support its GEAR UP program. GEAR UP is a national grant program to support early college preparation and awareness activities for low-income students. The program assists students in the Allendale County and Orangeburg School District 3 in meeting South Carolina State Performance Standards, complete a college preparatory course of study, train teachers, increase parental and community involvement, and increase the awareness of financial aid resources. The program begins to work with students in the 7th grade and continues through high school graduation. Services provided include tutoring, mentoring, counseling, workshops, field trips, and college visitations. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. ####

Jul 17 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the nomination of William J. Haynes to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. “I understand several Senators on the Judiciary Committee, including the Chairman, have submitted additional questions to Mr. Haynes. It is my belief these questions should be answered in a relatively quick manner by Mr. Haynes. “After all relevant information is received and reviewed, I stand ready to vote.”

Jul 14 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) today announced the Senate has approved a resolution recognizing the week of September 10, 2006 as “National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.” The resolution, introduced by Graham and Chambliss, was passed unanimously and calls on Americans to observe the week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to demonstrate support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The Senators made the following statement: “Historically Black Colleges and Universities provide quality educational experiences and play a vital role in an increasingly complex and highly technological society. HBCUs have a rich heritage and have played a prominent role in the history of the United States. Further, they have allowed many disadvantaged students to attain their full potential through higher education. We are pleased the Senate has come together in a bipartisan fashion to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of these institutions.” South Carolina is home to 8 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Georgia is home to 10. A complete list can be found at http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/list/whhbcu/edlite-list.html ####

Jul 12 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Horry County School District will receive a $961,579 Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant. The Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative is a national grant program that provides federal funds to create safe and drug-free schools, develop social skills, and promote healthy childhood development. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. ####

Jun 29 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Hamdan case: “We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. However, we believe the problems cited by the Court can and should be fixed. "It is inappropriate to try terrorists in civilian courts. It threatens our national security and places the safety of jurors in danger. For those reasons and others, we believe terrorists should be tried before military commissions. "In his opinion, Justice Breyer set forth the path to a solution of this problem. He wrote, ‘Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary.’ "We intend to pursue legislation in the Senate granting the Executive Branch the authority to ensure that terrorists can be tried by competent military commissions. Working together, Congress and the administration can draft a fair, suitable, and constitutionally permissible tribunal statute." # # #

Jun 27 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said he looks forward to voting in support of the flag protection amendment today. The amendment restores the authority of Congress to pass a flag desecration law if it chooses. The amendment is very close to garnering the 67 votes necessary for a constitutional amendment to pass the Senate. Graham noted the amendment is necessary because of a 1989 Supreme Court 5-4 ruling that said flag burning was politically expressive conduct and permitted under the First Amendment. “I enthusiastically support the constitutional amendment allowing elected officials to protect the American flag. Asking Americans to respect the flag of our nation is not an undue hardship. It also does not impede the rights of any Americans to strongly express their displeasure on any issue. “Unfortunately, because of a Supreme Court decision, a constitutional amendment is the only mechanism to change the result. If passed by two-thirds of the Congress, I believe this amendment will be ratified by the states. “I support the right of free speech however the physical desecration of our flag is not free speech. It’s an unnecessary destruction of one of our nation’s most important symbols. The constitutional amendment will restore the right of the legislature to protect the flag and passage of this amendment is long overdue.” ######

Jun 27 2006

Washington, D.C. – The United State Senate unanimously approved S. 2650 Tuesday a bill to designate the Federal courthouse to be constructed in Greenville, South Carolina, as the “Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. Federal Courthouse.” “I truly appreciate and admire all Carroll Campbell has done for our state and naming the new Greenville courthouse after him is a fitting tribute,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). “Governor Campbell reshaped South Carolina politics and was a trailblazer on many fronts. He was the first Governor to make an aggressive, successful effort to recruit large numbers of international businesses to our state and created a model we still follow today. He also helped reform and improve the way state government works for our citizens. His lifetime of work will continue to pay dividends to our state for years to come.” “I’m proud the Senate paid tribute to a man whose distinguished service as both governor and congressman helped usher in a new era of purpose and prosperity for the Palmetto State. Carroll and Iris were good friends and mentors to Debbie and me when I entered Congress. He never passed my office without stopping in to say hello and offer a well-timed word of advice. Carroll was an optimist and a visionary, and the building that will bear his name will not only serve as a gateway to Greenville but to all that is possible in South Carolina” said Senator Jim DeMint. U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis introduced a companion bill, H.R.5546, in the House on June 7, 2006. The legislation was cosponsored by all members of the South Carolina delegation. ###

Jun 26 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate has approved an amendment that will revamp the retirement system and further improve access to the military healthcare system, TRICARE, for Reservists and Guardsmen. The amendment was offered by Graham, along with Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) and Hillary Clinton (D-New York), to the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill. The bill passed 96-0. “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.” Graham has taken the lead role in championing expanded TRICARE access in the Senate. This latest amendment builds on the success Graham had last year when Congress overhauled the TRICARE system, greatly expanding access for members of the Selected Reserve. Under the expansion passed last year, all members of the Selected Reserve are eligible to enroll in the military health care program for a monthly premium based on their service and employment status. The amendment passed by the Senate last week improves this system by reducing the co-payment for those who have not been deployed, are eligible for other private insurance, but want continuous access to TRICARE. It reduces the cost share for the Reservist from 85% to 75% with the government paying the remainder. Employees of small businesses would become eligible for a 50/50 cost share under Tier 2. In addition, to provide further savings to Reservists, Senator Graham introduced a separate bill allowing members to pay their TRICARE premiums on a pre-tax basis like all other federal employees. “I will continue to work to improve benefits available to members of the Guard and Reserve,” said Graham. “The nation will continue to need their services in fighting the War on Terror.” Another significant provision included in the amendment would lower the retirement age for members of the United States National Guard and Reserve based on the number of days the member is called to active duty. The retirement age requirement would be reduced by 3 months for every 90 days of continuous active service a Reservist performs in support of a contingency operation or in a war zone. The minimum age to collect retirement pay is set at 50. This provision is retroactive to September 2001. “Reservists and Guardsmen have been deployed at historic rates,” said Graham. “Rewarding them by allowing them to retire earlier than the current system allows is a tremendous incentive for retention. The incentive for early retirement combined with more affordable health care will dramatically improve the quality of life for our Reserve community and their families. I am proud these two provisions have received unanimous, bipartisan support.” Graham noted that the Senate also approved an amendment he authored to give military commanders a more fair and efficient means of discipline on the battlefield. The provision clarifies the Uniform Code of Military Justice to place civilian contractors accompanying the Armed Forces in the field under court-martial jurisdiction during contingency operations as well as in times of declared war. The Defense Authorization Bill approves more than $517 billion in budget authority for national security and defense programs at the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy. The bill includes more than $50 billion in funding for ongoing operations in the War on Terror. The bill will now go to conference with the House of Representatives. #### TRICARE System Under Current Law Tier 1: Members of the Selected Reserve who are called to active duty qualify for TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS). Under this program a Reservist who agrees to stay in the Service accumulates one year of TRS coverage for every 90 days of active duty service. Monthly premiums during the years of accumulated eligibility are only 28 percent of the program cost. The government picks up the remaining 72 percent. As has always been the case, coverage is free of charge while on active duty. The system permits accumulation of earned periods of coverage for frequently deployed personnel. In addition, Reservist’s family members receive 6 months of transitional coverage following the death of the Reserve member, if the member dies while in an inactive status. Tier 2: Members of the Selected Reserve who are not called to active duty, and who otherwise do not qualify for health insurance due to unemployment or lack of employer-provided coverage, are eligible to enroll in TRICARE for a 50 percent cost-sharing premium. The government will pay the remaining 50 percent. Tier 3: Members of the Selected Reserve who do not fit into either of the above categories (have not been deployed and have access to other private health insurance) but would like to participate continuously in TRICARE are eligible to do so for an 85 percent cost share. Employers are allowed and encouraged to contribute to the reservist’s share. The government contributes 15 percent of the cost.

Jun 22 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against two Democratic attempts to establish a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. The provisions, introduced as amendments to the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill, both failed. After the votes, Graham made the following statement: “If the United States Senate sets a timetable for withdrawal, it will be viewed as a rebuke of the Iraqi government and a vote of no-confidence in the Iraqi people. The Iraqis are coming together and creating a new democracy out of the ashes of a dictatorship. For us to say we are going to leave at a date certain will weaken the Iraqi government and empower the terrorists. “There will be a timetable for us to leave, but it will be collaboration between our two nations and our coalition partners. It will be a timetable to help empower the Iraqi government and people while diminishing the terrorists. I hope the American people and Congress will be patient. “I’m proud of the job the American military has done in Iraq. We should all be very grateful for their service to our nation. I’m also proud of the Iraqi people and their government. With the death of Zarqawi and the creation of an Iraqi National Government, we’re beginning to make progress against the terrorists. “When we have asked something of the Iraqis they have delivered and done so under some of the most difficult of circumstances. It’s tough to run for office in America, but its nothing compared to what elected officials in Iraq have to go through. Their leaders are targeted by the insurgents and terrorists who come after them and their families. “My hat goes off to the Iraqis who have joined the police force, military, and served in elected office. I admire them and I am very proud the United States is standing by their side. I have every confidence the Iraqis will want us to leave at some point. But they understand, like we do, their capacity to defend the nation from the wolves of terrorism is limited right now. “I want to leave behind a democratic government where Iraqis can live together under the rule of law and settle their differences at the ballot box and courtroom. Our Iraqi friends have come a long way. They’re not lazy or indifferent. They are making history, fighting and dying along side us for their own freedom. Let’s not set a timetable that diminishes the sacrifices our nations have made. “History will judge us not when we left Iraq, but what we left behind.” ####

Jun 15 2006

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has signed on in support of the Stop Over-Spending Act of 2006. The legislation, introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-NH), seeks to make structural changes to how Washington spends taxpayer dollars. “This legislation will place long overdue spending restraints on the Congress,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “We need to be more efficient in how we spend taxpayer dollars. This bill empowers people in Congress who want to control spending and reduce the size of government. It is the worst nightmare of those who want to continue to waste taxpayer dollars.” Among the major provisions of the legislation:
  • Creation of a line-item veto tool that allows a President to target wasteful spending, ask that it be rescinded, and send it up to Congress for expedited consideration.
  • Creation of a new and improved Gramm-Rudman-Hollings mechanism to balance the budget by 2012. It includes procedures to automatically slow the rate of growth for mandatory programs if Congress fails to meet deficit reduction targets.
  • Reinstatement of statutory caps on discretionary spending – and new tools to prevent the use of all-too-convenient ‘emergency’ spending -- enforceable by an across the board sequester if Congress fails to adhere to the caps.
  • Creation of a budgetary point of order against new mandatory if the Medicare program is projected to become insolvent in 7 years or less. Due to skyrocketing health care costs and an aging population, Medicare is projected to be the first of the large entitlement programs to become insolvent.
  • Creation of two new bi-partisan commissions: one to study the accountability and efficiency of government programs (in a manner similar to the BRAC Commission), and the other to examine and provide solutions to the impending entitlement crisis.
“Two-thirds of the federal budget is on autopilot as either interest on the national debt or mandatory spending,” said Graham. “Unfortunately, political malpractice is afoot when it comes to entitlements as many Senators don’t want to address the ticking time bomb. “I enthusiastically support budget reform which will bring about real change and bring about something that has been lost -- fiscal discipline,” said Graham. “I thank Chairman Gregg for his strong leadership and his willingness to push forward with a comprehensive reform bill. I look forward to working with my colleagues to restore responsibility to the budget process.” ####