Jan 04 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the swearing-in of fellow U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina). “Jim is a great addition to the Senate. I think we’ll be good partners working together to move the conservative reform movement forward. He comes with years of experience in the House of Representatives and will hit the ground running. “The committees Jim will serve on, particularly the Commerce Committee and the Public Works Committee, will be of great benefit to South Carolina. Between the two of us, our committees will cover a wide variety of issues and we’ll be helpful to our state. “Jim’s a solid conservative who is open to new ideas about reforming the federal government. I really look forward to serving with him. He’s a first-class guy and a great public servant.” #####

Jan 04 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the President’s efforts to strengthen Social Security. "President Bush is serious about saving Social Security. "I have every confidence he will make the tough choices necessary to save Social Security for future generations of Americans. We should all be very proud of him for his leadership on this most difficult issue. "I will continue to work with the President and others in developing a personal account component to Social Security that is structurally sound, affordable, doesn't rely on budgetary gimmicks, and bipartisan in nature. Personal accounts, combined with other reforms, will ensure Social Security is permanently solvent and sustainable. "Personal accounts are a major element in Social Security reform and the establishment of these accounts will help millions of Americans build a nest egg for their retirement. "The President's leadership in advocating the need for reform is indispensable. I look forward to working with him and others to turn Social Security reform into reality." #####

Dec 31 2004

Senator Hollings Has Served Us Well

Op-ed by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

Trying to follow legends like Fritz Hollings and Strom Thurmond is a tough act. South Carolinians have relied on these two great gentlemen for generations. Fritz Hollings’ retirement is truly an end of an era, and he will be missed by the United States Senate and South Carolina. In paying tribute to Senator Hollings, I first want to recognize the most important people in his life: his wife Peatsy, his children and grandchildren. The Hollings family has been a great benefit to South Carolina and there is no better way to be introduced to our State than to meet Peatsy Hollings. If you had to create an image of a Senator, Fritz Hollings would be the model. He looks, acts, and sounds like a Senator. Senator Hollings has served his state and nation well both during war and peace. In 1942 he graduated from the Citadel as part of a class that received their diplomas in the morning and went off to fight a war the next day. He fought in North Africa and Europe receiving the Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons. If Senator Hollings had done nothing else in life, this would have been an outstanding legacy. At the age of 26, he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He went on to become Lieutenant Governor and the youngest Governor in South Carolina history at the time. As Governor, Hollings let it be known that South Carolina would be a government of laws, not men. He challenged our state to accept the inevitable and led the way to the successful integration of Clemson University in 1963. During his Governorship he created our technical school system, which is among the best in the nation. We have thousands of South Carolinians receiving college level education through our technical schools. We have 16 technical colleges now, over 160 career programs and high-tech professionals who have made it possible for major domestic and international business concerns to come to our state. In 1966, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Senator Hollings’ legislative accomplishments are numerous and varied. His efforts to preserve South Carolina’s environment, particularly our coastal zones, have had national impact. The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 was the first federal legislation that addressed the needs of coastal areas in the United States. This earned Hollings “Environmentalist of the Year” standing from nearly every group in the nation. In 1976, Hollings’ Ocean Dumping Act and the Maritime Transportation Act changed the way we treat our coastlines as a nation. The coastline of South Carolina and every other coast in the United States will be the beneficiary of his time in the Senate. The first and only national park in South Carolina, Congaree Swamp, was approved a year ago. This accomplishment, along with the ACE Basin project will ensure that future generations of South Carolinians will experience the South Carolina that Fritz Hollings knew as a young man. Senator Hollings was talking about preserving social security and reducing deficits before it was fashionable. Gramm-Rudman-Hollings was an attempt in the 1980s to bring fiscal sanity to the Congress, and has paid dividends to this day. Senator Hollings has been a strong advocate for improved health care and fighting poverty in South Carolina. The Hollings Cancer Institute at MUSC is a direct result of his efforts to provide world class cancer research and treatment to thousands of South Carolinians. I intend to build upon what Senator Hollings has started at MUSC and the possibilities for healthcare breakthroughs are immense. In conclusion, Senator Hollings has been a worthy political opponent, a strong advocate for South Carolina, and truly a larger than life figure on the political stage. He has an unsurpassed wit, sharp tongue, and for those who know him best, a big heart. He and his staff have been tremendously kind and helpful during my first two years in the United States Senate, and for that I will be forever grateful. I have been honored to call him my senior Senator and wish Fritz and Peatsy all the best in their future endeavors. They have truly served South Carolina well. ####

Dec 30 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $65,000 in grants to fire departments in Smyrna and Westminster. “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. Smyrna Smyrna Volunteer Fire Department will receive $19,116. Westminster Westminster Fire Department will receive $47,565. 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. ####

Dec 23 2004

How Social Security Reform can Become a Reality

Op-ed by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota)

With a renewed debate over the future of Social Security underway, Republicans and Democrats alike need to begin by setting aside our differences and focusing on the common ground between us. As two policymakers — one from each party — who have been committed to the well-being of Social Security throughout our careers, we have agreed that the following principles should guide our deliberations going forward: Where to start First, Social Security must be preserved. Since its inception in 1935, the program has provided a basic safety net for Americans. Millions of workers pay into the Social Security system with the expectation of receiving a benefit at retirement, as well as insurance for their family in the event of their death or disability. According to the Social Security Administration, two-thirds of today's retirees rely on Social Security for more than half of their income. And nearly 50% of beneficiaries would be in poverty without Social Security. Second, it is also clear that Social Security must be strengthened. The demographic tidal wave of the baby-boom generation will mean we will soon have too many beneficiaries and too few workers to keep the system in balance. By 2018, for the first time, the program will begin to take in less in payroll taxes than it pays in benefits. And by 2042, it is estimated that Social Security will be able to provide only 73% of promised benefits. Doing nothing is not an option. Third, strengthening Social Security will require tough choices and, if done in a responsible manner, can greatly improve our nation's fiscal outlook. Acting sooner will give us more time to adjust and allow for more gradual solutions to be adopted. But there are no easy answers. To address Social Security's funding challenges, all options should be on the table for discussion. Under some reform plans, transition costs could reach several trillion dollars during the next 10 years. Borrowing all of those funds would pass on an unfair burden to future generations and could undermine the fiscal strength of the nation. Fourth, the costs of changing Social Security must be open and transparent. The American people need to be provided with an honest accounting of the costs of maintaining the current system and the costs of reform. If private accounts (either on top of or carved out of the existing program) are created, real dollars will be required now that will have a very real impact on a federal budget that is already deeply in deficit. Proposals to conceal the costs of reform by placing them "off budget" — ignoring or minimizing the real and upfront fiscal impact — should be rejected. If the corporate scandals have taught us anything, it is that hiding debt is a recipe for disaster. The public must be aware of the difficult trade-offs among benefit cuts, tax increases and additional borrowing that will be required regardless of how we strengthen the system. And they must be aware of the impact of these reforms on the federal budget, the economy and individual beneficiaries and taxpayers — in the short term and over the long term. A bipartisan approach In 1983, President Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill worked together across party lines to protect Social Security — setting an example for future generations. We need to do the same thing now. A solution must be bipartisan; presidential leadership will be needed; rigid ideology must give way to workable solutions; and reasonable sacrifice will be required. Both parties have been far too hesitant to ask the American people to make sacrifices for the common good. It is our belief that the American people, if asked in a responsible manner, will embrace the hard choices necessary to save Social Security for younger workers and future generations. It is time to address this problem. Social Security must be preserved and strengthened. But we need to be candid about the costs and willing to make the tough choices that real reform will require. If Republicans and Democrats can agree on this, we can save a vital program for generations to come. Sen. Kent Conrad is a Democrat from North Dakota. Sen. Lindsey Graham is a Republican from South Carolina

Dec 22 2004

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced over $2.1 million in grants to Marlboro County, a local water company in Wallace and local Council of Governments (COGs) across the state. Marlboro County will receive $1.184 million to help rebuild 4.2 miles of rail corridor. Funding will be used for building and replacing rail crossings as well as replacing rails. The Wallace Water Company in Wallace will receive $459,000 to help expand a water line for business use. The improved infrastructure will allow for future economic growth and development in the area. Council of Government (COG) organizations across the state will each receive $52,000 grants to assist in their industrial plans. The COGs receiving grants include:
  • Lower Savannah Council of Governments in Aiken
  • Central Midlands Council of Governments in Columbia
  • Waccamaw Regional Planning and Development Commission in Georgetown
  • South Carolina Appalachian Council of Governments in Greenville
  • Upper Savannah Council of Governments in Greenwood
  • Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments in North Charleston
  • Catawba Regional Planning Council in Rock Hill
  • Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments in Sumter
  • Lowcountry Council of Governments in Yemassee
The Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments in Florence will receive $59,500. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. #####

Dec 22 2004

Graham to Serve on Budget Committee in 109th Congress

Continues Service on Armed Services, Judiciary, and Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has secured a seat on the prestigious Senate Budget Committee in the 109th Congress set to begin in January. The Budget Committee is responsible for drafting Congress' annual budget plan and monitoring action on the budget for the federal government. In addition, the Budget Committee has jurisdiction over the operation of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The budget resolution prepared by the committee each year sets out a broad blueprint for total revenues and spending for the federal government. Other authorizing and appropriations committees prepare legislation that enacts specific tax and spending policies. In the 108th Congress, U.S. Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-South Carolina) served on the committee. He was the only U.S. Senator to serve on the Senate Budget Committee since its establishment in 1974. In addition to Budget, Graham will continue to serve on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Veterans Affairs Committees. He will relinquish his slot on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP). “The Budget Committee is on the ground floor in the fight to save Social Security for future generations,” said Graham. “It also plays a very important role in shaping the tax and spending policies of the federal government. Given the agenda items I want to see addressed in the Senate in the coming years, it’s a very good place to be.” #####

Dec 17 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the announcement of workforce reductions at Savannah River Site (SRS): “As I’ve indicated in the past, the force levels at SRS will inevitably be reduced as we move toward completion of the cleanup mission. “The layoffs are a result of the workload being reduced as we transition from cleanup to preparing for new missions – not a lack of federal funding for SRS. The Fiscal Year 2005 budget for SRS allows all existing projects to move forward -- some ahead of schedule -- in the area of cleanup. It also keeps the future development of new missions on track. “There will be more layoffs as we clean up the Site and the future missions will not be sufficient to maintain the current level of employment. Now more than ever, it is important we diversify the economy of the region. I’m hopeful we can create a new private sector-based economy focusing on hydrogen and other research projects leading to a robust and stable economy for the area for decades to come. “New missions such as MOX, combined with SRS’s new status as a national laboratory, will create some future employment opportunities -- many of them in the private sector. “However, all the new potential missions and the on-going cleanup efforts, will not be sufficient to maintain the current level of employment. It is a hard reality we face post Cold-War and a fact I have stated on numerous occasions. Post-Cold War, SRS’s employment levels will never be what they were and will continue to decline even as new missions come on board. “This dynamic is a hard reality. It’s something we need to continue preparing for and why the national lab is so important to the future of the area. ####

Dec 15 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $445,000 in grants to fire departments in Moncks Corner, Orangeburg, and Plum Branch. “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 Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Grants help fire departments purchase firefighting vehicles including pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats. The grants awarded include: Moncks Corner Pimlico Rural Volunteer Fire Department will receive $88,830. Orangeburg Pine Hill Fire and Rescue Department will receive $196,515. Plum Branch Plum Branch Volunteer Fire Department will receive $162,000. 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. ####

Dec 13 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced youth programs in Allendale County, Lancaster County, and North Charleston will receive nearly $1.2 million in federal grants to help young adults complete high school and receive on-the-job training in construction. The Youthbuild program assists students age 16 to 24. Students in the program complete their high school education and build or renovate single-family homes and multi-family apartments. The units are then sold to low-income individuals and families. Allendale County Allendale County ALIVE, Inc. will receive $400,000. Lancaster County Lancaster County School District will receive $396,399. North Charleston GATE (Garrett Academic Apprenticeship, Training) will receive $400,000. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####