May 17 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) voted against the $295 billion highway reauthorization bill that exceeded budget authority by $11 billion. The Senate approved the bill by an 89-11 vote. “It’s only been a few weeks since we adopted a budget to control spending and the Senate has already gone back on its word,” said Senator DeMint. “We had a chance to pass a responsible bill, but the Senate’s addiction to spending prevailed.” “The 11th hour increase in the spending level made it impossible for me to support,” said Senator Graham. “It was a tough decision because there are some important policy changes made in the bill that will benefit our state. The only way our nation will solve its fiscal problems is to do what families and businesses routinely do and that’s stick to a budget.” The Bush Administration has repeatedly warned that it will reject the reauthorization bill if its six-year cost exceeds $284 billion from fiscal year 2004 through fiscal 2009. While both Senators opposed the bill’s excessive spending, DeMint and Graham were able to secure some important policy changes. These include a better formula in the bill that will return more federal gas tax dollars to South Carolina. Under the new legislation, South Carolina would receive 92 cents back on every dollar it sends to Washington in gas taxes, an increase from the 90.5 percent the state has received since 1998. The two Senators were also successful in adding a new safety program that will give states like South Carolina greater flexibility in addressing safety needs. Approximately $1 billion will be available for safety improvements such as rumble strips, widening lanes, installing guard rails, and additional signage. All public roads are eligible for this new safety funding. Highway, public transit, and traffic safety programs are running on a temporary extension that expires May 31. That leaves just eight legislative days for a conference committee to complete its work at reconciling the significant policy differences in the House and Senate bills. “One of my top goals has been to give states more control of their highway dollars,” said Senator DeMint. “I’m glad this bill takes a step in that direction. However, time is running out and we need the conferees to quickly agree on a responsible bill that the President can sign.” “The highway bill was intended to create jobs and direct resources to desperately needed highway infrastructure,” said Senator Graham. “Unfortunately, the final version of the bill we voted on busted the budget and will create a ripple effect throughout the government.” “Fiscal discipline by Democrats and Republicans, when it comes to budget matters, is being eroded in every Congress,” continued Graham. “My vote is a statement of principle that budget discipline does matter no matter how popular the cause. I hope the House and Senate conference committee will exercise more fiscal restraint as they work to resolve the differences between the two bills.” ###
May 17 2005
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 on the U.S. Treasury report on the currency practices of our trading partners. The report said the fixed exchange rate China maintains “is a substantial distortion to world markets” but did not find them to be manipulating their currency. Graham said: “I hope the Bush Administration builds on this report and lets the Chinese know their currency must change or they will face severe consequences. “For the first time, the Administration has called what China is doing a ‘distortion.’ They are moving in the right direction and I applaud them for beginning to take a tougher line in dealing with the Chinese. But make no mistake, more must be done. “It’s pretty simple – China cheats. The Chinese manipulate their currency to gain an unfair advantage over the U.S. and other nations. The chorus of voices opposing what China is doing is expanding as the G-7 and European Union both accuse China of manipulating its currency. “We need to address this issue as soon as possible. It’s one thing if someone outworks or outsmarts us. But it’s not fair when someone is rigging the rules of the game to give them an unfair competitive advantage.” ####
May 13 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Catawba Indian Nation will receive a $1,459,690 Indian Housing Block Grant. The funds can be used for affordable housing activities including operating assistance, development of affordable housing, housing services, housing management, or crime prevention safety activities. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####
May 13 2005
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 on the BRAC realignment and closure process. Among South Carolina military installations: Fort Jackson Gain Net 615 Positions Added 435 Military / 180 Civilian Marine Air Corps Station Beaufort Gain Net 12 Positions Added 12 Civilian McEntire Air National Guard Station Gain Net 426 Positions Added 418 Military / 8 Civilian Naval Weapons Stations Charleston Realigned Net 250 Positions Lost Lost: 170 Military / 149 Civilian Gained: 45 Military / 24 Civilian Shaw Air Force Base Gain 817 Positions Added Lost: 74 Military / 1 Civilian Gained: 816 Military / 76 Civilian Defense Financing and Accounting Service, Charleston Closed Net 368 Positions Lost 368 Civilian South Naval Facilities Engineering Command Closed 543 Positions Lost Lost: 6 Military / 492 Civilian / 45 Mission Contractor “Overall, South Carolina flourished during this round of BRAC because we have supportive communities and the missions being preformed at installations in our state are indispensable to the War on Terror. As this round of BRAC proves, our state represents growth potential for the Department of Defense. “While it was unfortunate that we did lose some positions, our footprint actually increased. I’m pleased with the outcome of the first step in the BRAC process. I believe this successful outcome is the direct result of collaboration between local, state, and federal officials. “I always thought we had a great story to tell and a lot to offer. Today’s round of BRAC shows the Department of Defense believes the same. We must not rest though as this is only one step in a long process. Until this is finished, we must not let our guard down.” ##### Notes on Today’s BRAC Announcement and South Carolina:
- Charleston, which has 368 positions slated for closure at the Defense Finance Accounting Services (DFAS), joined a long list of states seeing these facilities on the DOD list. Altogether, states show 3,473 positions slated for elimination in DFAS under BRAC. Among the states losing: California with 471 positions, Florida 209, Kentucky 45, Maine 241, Maryland 53, Missouri 906, New York 290, and Ohio 1,258. Indiana appears to be the only state to buck the trend gaining 100 positions.
- Fort Jackson in Columbia will now be the location where all Army drill sergeants will be trained.
- Fort Jackson will also be the location where all chaplains in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force will be trained.
- Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter will become a joint facility with the addition of an Army 3-star General and staff who will be headquartered there.
- McEntire Air National Guard Station in Eastover will gain 9 of some of the most advanced F-16 fighters.