Nov 10 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Charleston Interfaith Crisis Ministry will receive a $232,305 Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH) grant. The funds will help provide primary health care, mental health, and substance abuse services to the homeless population in the Charleston area. Interfaith Crisis Ministry has been a recipient of this competitive federal grant since 1996. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####

Nov 09 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the resignations of Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Commerce Don Evans: “Attorney General Ashcroft presided over the Justice Department during one of the most difficult periods in American history. He has done a marvelous job aggressively fighting terrorism and making us safer by strongly supporting the PATRIOT Act. He leaves a legacy that will stand the test of time. He has served our President and nation well.” “Secretary Evans provided steady leadership during troubling economic times. He aggressively pursued open markets for American products and was one of the President’s strongest advocates for tax relief and reform. Our nation is better off for his service, and he will be missed.” ####

Nov 05 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $148,000 in grants to fire departments in Anderson and Ware Shoals. “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. Anderson Centerville Fire Department will receive $69,017. Ware Shoals Western Laurens Fire Department will receive $79,416. 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 04 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), along with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, will host the 2004 Ambassadors Tour. “We want to showcase the business opportunities South Carolina has to offer to the world,” said Graham. “The tour is a great opportunity to build relationships which can be beneficial in the coming years.” Graham worked with economic development leaders to put together the event which begins on Monday. High-level dignitaries from countries in the Americas, Europe, and Middle East plan to attend the five-day event which begins in Myrtle Beach and continues through Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and other areas of the state. Leaders from the state’s economic development alliances including South Carolina Department of Commerce, Central South Carolina Alliance, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Upstate Alliance and the South Carolina Export Consortium will participate. “The tour will showcase our state’s diverse cultural, recreational and economic offerings,” said Graham. “By promoting South Carolina, we hope to extend our reach into countries that have shown real interest in expanding or building their businesses here.” The tour kicks off in Myrtle Beach with a discussion of tourism and the international trade center. The dignitaries will then travel to Charleston with a visit to the port as well as experience the historical and cultural significance the city has had on the national stage. The groups also travel to the Midlands and the Upstate region with stops planned for the University of South Carolina, the State House, Clemson University, Greenville as well as tours of South Carolina’s leading businesses and manufacturers. “This is an opportunity for other countries to reach out and explore possibilities for successful business endeavors in South Carolina and an opportunity for our businesses to showcase their goods and services,” said Graham. “We’re hopeful we’ll be able to forge long-term relationships which will be beneficial to all.” #####

Oct 28 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced $1.2 million in grants to fire departments in Abbeville, Anderson, Belvedere, Blacksburg, Calhoun Falls, Lancaster, Orangeburg, Ridgeville, Rowesville, Spartanburg, Union, Williamston, and Williston. “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 are awarded in one of two program areas:
  • Firefighting 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.
Abbeville Sharon Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $56,875 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Anderson Zion Fire Department will receive a $64,538 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Belvedere Belvedere Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $63,503 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Blacksburg Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $46,742 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Calhoun Falls Calhoun Falls Fire Department will receive a $71,977 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Lancaster Camp Creek Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $130,500 grant for a firefighting vehicle. Orangeburg Four Holes Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $84,611 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Ridgeville Ridgeville Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $68,055 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Rowesville Rowesville Fire Department will receive a $196,629 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Spartanburg Whitney Area Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $68,877 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Union Cross Keys Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $133,200 grant for a firefighting vehicle. Williamston Williamston Fire Department will receive a $64,844 grant for firefighter operations and safety. Williston The town of Williston will receive a $158,280 grant for a firefighting vehicle. 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. Grant funds to local fire departments will come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Oct 19 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the follow statement on Senator Kerry’s (D-Massachusetts) refusal to offer a plan to modernize Social Security. Kerry made the comments in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Graham said: “The goal of any President, regardless of party, must be to achieve sustained solvency of Social Security. Anyone wishing to lead our nation should offer proposals to strengthen Social Security for future generations.” “President Bush has a plan to modernize and improve Social Security. He is working in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to Social Security’s impending bankruptcy.” “Senator Kerry, it is not enough to say what you are against. Please also tell us what you support. Failure to stand up and say what you support when it comes to saving Social Security is a failure of leadership.” “Millions of Americans rely on Social Security, and it is in trouble. Without presidential leadership the problem will continue to get worse and the political low road will be devastating for the future of the program.” “The politics of fear and distortion must give way to honest debate and real solutions. America deserves no less from those who want to lead this great nation.” #### Background on Social Security and Senator Lindsey Graham:
  • Without Social Security, millions of Americans who rely on the program for their retirement, disability, and survivor’s income would live in poverty.
  • Unfortunately, Social Security as it is currently structured faces serious financial problems. As former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) wrote in the Final Report of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, “… Social Security is in need of an overhaul. The system is not sustainable as it is currently structured.”
  • The Trustees of Social Security have warned us of the 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 insolvent and unable to pay full benefits to retirees.
  • The problems facing Social Security are due in large part to demographic changes in the United States. 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.
  • In just five short years, the first wave of baby boomers will be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Between 2011 and 2030, the number of Social Security recipients will increase 65 percent, while the working, taxpaying population will only increase 8 percent.
  • The combined shortfall in Social Security and Medicare is 5 times as large as all of today’s publicly held debt and 8 times as large as total federal spending in 2002.
  • To keep Social Security solvent in the future, we have three choices. We can raise payroll taxes by 50 percent, cut benefits by 30 percent or modernize the system though innovative reforms that include personal accounts.
  • The Social Security Solvency and Modernization Act introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will put the system on solid financial footing by giving workers a choice of ways to balance the system.
  • The Graham plan makes no false promises – each option leads to solvency for the system.
  • The Social Security Solvency and Modernization Act reduces the cost of Social Security substantially and saves our children and grandchildren from a crushing financial burden.

Oct 15 2004

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement: “I have personally contacted U.S. military authorities in Baghdad and have been informed that no member of the reserve unit in question has been arrested or detained. “The reserve unit has been in Iraq for over nine months and has performed honorably. “The issue to be addressed is whether or not a small group of reservists expressed concerns or acted in an inappropriate manner leading to a temporary breakdown of good order and discipline. “There is an on-going investigation. I am confident this matter will be fully and fairly addressed and I intend to follow it to its conclusion.” #####

Oct 14 2004

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced two historic Charleston landmarks will receive Save America’s Treasures grants. The landmarks are:
  • $295,000 for Dock Street Theatre made to the City of Charleston Department of Parks.
  • $225,000 for the Aiken-Rhett House to the Historic Charleston Foundation.
The grants were made by a selection committee who evaluated each sites proposal for federal funding. The grants are administered through the U.S. Park Service. #####

Oct 09 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham's (R-South Carolina) long drive to increase loan forgiveness for qualified teachers is about to become law. Today the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation increasing the amount of loan forgiveness available for teachers in critical areas from $5,000 to $17,500. The legislation has already been approved by the House of Representatives and President Bush is expected to sign it into law. “There is a drastic shortage of qualified teachers in critical needs areas,” said Graham, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP). “This loan forgiveness program is an important first step in eliminating the shortage. It’s a great recruitment tool that rewards teachers for working in underserved areas of the profession. It is an important investment in the future of children and the country.” Graham first began pushing loan forgiveness for teachers in 1998 when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. On previous occasions, the legislation passed the House only to not be taken up by the Senate. Graham also won high praise for his work on the issue including supportive comments from President Bush and Laura Bush who viewed the loan forgiveness issue as an important component of their effort to provide a quality teacher in every classroom. Under the loan forgiveness expansion passed today, math, science, and special education teachers who teach in Title I schools can qualify to have up to $17,500 of their student loans forgiven. Critical and widespread shortages exist in these disciplines, particularly in inner city and rural communities. "While I am pleased this expansion of teacher loan forgiveness looks like it will become law, I will continue to work toward a comprehensive expansion of the current program,” said Graham. “I support loan forgiveness for all disciplines, but the funding simply was not there to expand the program fully at the time. I am hopeful this can occur in the coming years." “This would not have happened without a big push from President Bush,” said Graham. “Loan forgiveness has been one of his and the First Lady’s signature issues. I truly appreciate their assistance in turning this idea into law.” “I also would like to thank Senator Gregg and Representative Boehner for helping to push this through Congress with an overwhelming majority,” said Graham. “This idea will truly make a difference in our rural and urban poor schools. A quality teacher in every classroom is exactly what I want.” Funding for the loan forgiveness program will come from an adjustment in existing law that allowed excessive profits for companies lending money to college students. Under current law, the federal government guarantees a handful of lenders and note holders a 9.5-percent interest rate for student loans. The guaranteed yield on other federally subsidized student loans is a much lower rate -- roughly 4 percent. The federal government had been making up the difference costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The legislation provides an immediate, one-year solution to the problem, and paves the way for a permanent fix during re-authorization of federal higher education programs next year. The government will use the anticipated savings of approximately $270 million to pay for the teacher loan forgiveness plan. ####

Oct 09 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) today announced Congress has approved a plan to expand TRICARE benefits for members of the Guard and Reserve and their families. TRICARE is the military health system. The program was included in the FY2005 Ronald Reagan Defense Authorization Bill. “This is another step forward in our effort to ensure that every Guard and Reserve member and their family have year-round access to military health care,” said Graham, the only U.S. Senator to currently serve in a Guard or Reserve unit. “It’s sad but true that a significant number of Guard and Reserve members called to active duty are unable to serve because of medical problems. Guardsmen and Reservists are the only part-time federal employees who are currently ineligible for federal government full-time health care benefits. It’s my goal, in a bipartisan manner, to alleviate this inequity and this bill takes another step toward that goal.” "I was proud to work with Senator Graham and this bipartisan group to move forward toward the ultimate goal of permanent access to affordable health coverage for Guard members, reservists, and their families. We have made much progress on behalf of those troops who are defending this country--and we will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to build on this success," Senator Daschle said. "In my home state of South Dakota, 90 percent of Guard members, roughly 4,000 men and women, have been mobilized since September 11. Because of this legislation, they now will be eligible for benefits from the military health program." “For too long we have neglected the healthcare needs of the Reservists and National Guardsmen who stand ready to accept the call of duty," Senator DeWine said. "By extending TRICARE coverage that we secured for unemployed and uninsured members of the Reserve Component, we are easing the strain of deployment on Service members and their families and increasing readiness of our troops.” “After fits and starts, we are finally getting a TRICARE health insurance program underway for the men and women of our Guard and Reserves,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT.), co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus. “We are asking our Guard and Reserves to do more at home and abroad, and we need to do our part to meet their basic needs. When our troops and their families are healthy, our entire military is stronger, and that’s why affordable health insurance is both a critical readiness issue and a fairness issue. Now we have achieved a program for reservists who have already been mobilized, and I hope we can soon expand this program to other reservists.” “I applaud this expanded TRICARE provision which will provide healthcare coverage for our reserve service members for an extended period of time after they are deployed," said Chambliss. "Health care is the single benefit that means and matters the most to members of the Reserve Components, and I am proud to play a part in expanding this benefit for all Guardsmen and Reservists.” "Members of the National Guard, in New York and elsewhere, are serving their country with honor and distinction and making incredible sacrifices. TRICARE for Guard and reserve members is an idea whose time has come," Senator Clinton said. "This bill is a positive step towards providing them and their families with insurance coverage and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the future to take further steps toward that goal." The program significantly increases the length of time that eligible Reservists are able to receive TRICARE coverage. Under the new eligibility requirements, 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. Currently, members of the Reserve Component and their families are eligible for TRICARE only while on active duty. In August, Congress approved funding to provide enhanced TRICARE benefits to guardsmen and reservists. The details of the program were negotiated over the past several months, resulting in the program approved today. “The goal next year will be to appropriate the proper funding amount to allow every member of the Guard or Reserve to participate in TRICARE,” said Graham. “It will help retention, readiness and be a long overdue benefit upgrade.” Also included in the bill is a provision that continues the expansion of pre-and-post deployment eligibility guidelines for TRICARE the Senators championed last year. Guardsmen and Reservists become eligible for TRICARE upon receiving their activation orders and can remain on the healthcare system for 180 days after they are deactivated. This provision applies to all members of the Guard and Reserve regardless of the length of time activated. “Providing health care will be a tremendous benefit, as one-fifth of Guardsmen and Reservists do not have health care in the private sector,” said Graham. “Of all the issues I have worked on this has achieved the most bipartisan support. When Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Pat Leahy, Mike DeWine, Saxby Chambliss and I -- representing every end of the political spectrum -- come together, that shows the broad appeal of this issue.” The bill will now be sent to President Bush for his signature. The Department of Defense will then have 180 days to locate and notify eligible Guardsmen and Reservists. ####