Apr 27 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Daniel Morgan Rural Community Water District in Gaffney will receive a $519,100 grant and $1,074,000 loan for water infrastructure improvements. "One of the problems our state has in attracting and retaining new business is we sometimes lack the necessary infrastructure," said Graham. "We need to continue working to do more to ensure we have the ability to economically grow and prosper in the coming years." The funds will be used to extend waterlines into unserved areas of the Water District, and replace and upgrade existing waterlines. The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ####

Apr 27 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Marco Rural Water Company in Marion will receive a $259,300 grant and $693,000 loan for water line relocation. The funds will be used to relocate 33,722 feet of existing water line along US Highway 501. The relocation is necessary due to South Carolina Department of Transportation construction. The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ####

Apr 26 2005

SELECT RESERVISTS CAN NOW SIGN UP FOR TRICARE

Senators Graham & Clinton Pledge to Continue Pushing for Better Benefits for Members of the National Guard and Reserves

WASHINGTON -- Today, the program that U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) helped create to expand access to health care benefits for reservists goes into effect. In October 2004, the Senators worked to pass a provision in the FY 2005 Ronald Reagan Defense Authorization Bill enabling reservists meeting eligibility requirements to enroll in TRICARE, the military health care system. The Senators hailed the expansion of the program today, but emphasized that there is still more work to be done to provide members of the National Guard and Reserves with the health care benefits they deserve. The eligibility requirements allow Guardsmen and Reservists who serve on active duty under federal orders for 90 consecutive days or more to 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 (DOD) pays approximately 72 percent and the reservist is responsible for the remaining 28 percent. The costs will be $75 per month for the member-only plan or $233 per month for member and family. “This is another step forward in our effort to ensure that every member of the Selected-Reserve and their families have year-round access to military health care,” said Graham, the only U.S. Senator currently serving in a Guard or Reserve unit. “Providing health care will be a tremendous benefit, as almost one-fifth of Guardsmen and Reservists do not have health care in the private sector.” “Today marks an important stride forward in expanding eligibility for TRICARE military health benefits to our Guard members and Reservists and their families,” said Clinton. “But more work needs to be done to ensure that our Guard and Reserve have access to the health care benefits they need and deserve.” Under the old rules, members of the Reserve Component and their families were eligible for TRICARE only while on active duty. “Guardsmen and Reservists are the only part-time federal employees who are currently ineligible for federal government full-time health care benefits,” said Graham. “It’s my goal, in a bipartisan manner, to alleviate this inequity. This program we helped push into law last year takes another step toward that goal.” “When Senator Graham and I visited our troops in Iraq we saw first hand that the role of our Guard and Reserve has changed. They are taking on significant responsibility, playing critically important roles both overseas and in homeland security,” said Clinton. “We need to give them the support they need to be successful and the program being launched today helps move us in that direction.” In February, Graham and Clinton introduced legislation (S.337, The Guard and Reserve Readiness Retention Act of 2005) to further expand 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. 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. “We’re going to continue pushing for a better benefit package 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. 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. Our proposal will also help in our recruiting and retention efforts.” “Under our bill, if you are a member of the National Guard or Reserves, you and your family have access to health care,” said Clinton. “We believe this is the right thing to do for our Guard and Reserves and a smart thing to do as we rely on the reserve component to make up a significant part of our military operations.” ######

Apr 25 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the town of Summerton will receive a $2,474,400 grant and $800,000 loan to upgrade and expand the wastewater treatment plant. "One of the problems rural areas of our state have in attracting and retaining new business is sometimes they lack the necessary infrastructure," said Graham. "We need to continue working to do more to ensure the rural areas of our state have the ability to economically grow in the coming years." The plant modifications will include an upgrade of the pump station and the addition of two new lagoons. The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ####

Apr 21 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said John Bolton is the right choice to serve as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. He made the following statement: “John Bolton will serve our nation well as ambassador to the United Nations. He is highly qualified for the position and understands the flaws -- financial and policy-wise -- that exist within the UN. “Mr. Bolton will be an agent of reform. “The United Nations remains an important player on the world stage. However, without reform it will slowly and surely continue to lose credibility in the eyes of many Americans. The ongoing Oil-for-Food scandal is a prime example of the challenges facing the organization. “I believe Mr. Bolton will serve our nation well and the Senate should confirm him to this important position.” #####

Apr 21 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today expressed his support for Representative Rob Portman to serve as the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). He made the following statement: “I was encouraged by Congressman Portman’s testimony and pledge today to address concerns with China. I look forward to working with him to ensure our trade laws are enforced and American manufacturers can compete on a level playing field. “China cheats to gain an unfair advantage on the international market. Congressman Portman expressed his commitment to redirect USTR resources to address this devastating issue. We must take action to protect American jobs and ensure transparency and openness for American goods to enter the Chinese market. Congress also must ensure the office of the USTR has the resources it needs -- including a trade prosecutor -- to enforce laws already on the books. “I look forward to working with Congressman Portman as our trade representative to expand markets for U.S. goods. I hope the Senate considers and approves his nomination as soon as possible.” #####

Apr 20 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Conway Fire Department will receive a $66,600 Assistance to Firefighters Grant. “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 funds can be used for prevention and safety activities including public education and awareness; fire code enforcement; fire inspector certifications; the purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems; wildland/wildfire mitigation; and arson prevention and detection. 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. ####

Apr 20 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $1 million in federal grants for airports in Pelion, Ridgeland, and St. George. Pelion The Town of Pelion will receive a $321,696 grant for the construction of a new fuel farm facility at the Pelion Airport. Ridgeland Jasper County will receive a $50,000 grant for airfield pavement maintenance and rehabilitation and relocation of existing runway lighting at the Ridgeland Airport. St. George Dorchester County will receive a $700,000 grant for runway and apron rehabilitation at the St. George Airport. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. ####

Apr 18 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement after President Bush addressed a joint session of the South Carolina General Assembly. “The President has done an excellent job of defining the demographic problems facing Social Security. “Millions of Americans rely on Social Security as a means of survival. The Social Security safety net is a common bond that brings us all together and I am pleased President Bush is focusing on this aspect of the program. “I was also encouraged to hear President Bush reiterate all options were on table, except for raising the 12.4 percent tax rate and changing the program for those at or near retirement. “I anticipate and hope that after his sixty-day tour of the nation the President will present more specific ideas to the nation.” ####

Apr 13 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Darkness to Light in Charleston will receive $445,031 in federal funds to develop and implement a web-based training program to help employees and volunteers of youth/faith organizations prevent, recognize and respond to child sexual abuse. Graham secured the funds in the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Adults who complete the online training program will be educated about the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse. As part of the program, each participant develops a personal ‘action plan’ to better safeguard children. The online training includes creative learning exercises and innovative experiential scenarios to teach adults how to recognize the signs of sexual abuse and what to do when abuse is discovered. At the end of every training program, participants are given a test to assess how much they have learned and where there is need for further review. With this training program adults around the country can be properly informed about child sexual abuse and provided with the necessary tools to protect children. The funds are awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. ####