Nov 25 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $725,000 in grants to fire departments in Chesterfield, Cope, Dillon, McCormick, Salley, Society Hill and Summerton. “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 assist in purchasing firefighting vehicles. Chesterfield Teal’s Mill Rural Volunteer Fire Department will receive $55,137. Cope Edisto Volunteer Fire Department will receive $144,000. Dillon Reedy Creek Volunteer Fire Department will receive $135,000. McCormick Sandy Branch Volunteer Fire Department will receive $76,500. Salley Salley Volunteer Fire Department will receive $130,500. Society Hill Harris Creek Volunteer Fire Department will receive $144,000. Summerton Summerton Fire Department will receive $40,500. 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 25 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against legislation adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 54 to 44. It will now be sent to President Bush for his signature. “Some are calling this bill the greatest thing since sliced bread,” said Graham. “I think it’s going to be more like New Coke. Sounds like a great idea until you actually try it.” “We’re adding another floor to a house that isn’t built on a stable foundation,” said Graham. “Medicare is already scheduled to go bankrupt. Reform of the Medicare system and adding a prescription drug benefit were supposed to go hand-in-hand. Instead of sticking with that approach, we went 180 degrees the other way by adding a costly new benefit and dropping reform.” Graham voted against the original Senate proposal but remained hopeful over the past several months that the House-Senate conference committee would produce a plan that offered real reform and a prescription drug benefit for seniors. He said there were some aspects of the conference report he supported such as the provisions means-testing benefits for wealthy seniors, health savings accounts giving seniors more control over their healthcare, and some preventative health measures. Additionally, Graham supported repealing cuts in Medicare reimbursements for doctors’ services and support for rural hospitals. But on balance, the provisions Graham supported were limited in scope and not enough to garner his support for the bill. Graham noted several shortcomings of the bill including:
  • Lack of effective cost containment. Graham expressed real concerns the cost of the program, estimated to cost approximately $400 billion over the next 10 years, could spiral upward at a much greater rate than predicted. He noted the bill contained many ‘donut holes,’ gaps in coverage, and that future Congress’ will push to close these holes thereby increasing costs.
  • Lack of real reform. Medicare as it’s currently structured is a government command-and-controlled health care plan. Seniors currently lack any real choice in Medicare and the bill didn’t offer them enough freedom over their health care.
“At the end of the day, I believe prescription drug use will explode and the reforms will be restricted,” said Graham. “The few reforms in the bill will give way to a political effort to increase spending because the program as structured allows uncontrolled expansion. Medicare is already is serious jeopardy. I am afraid we’re simply tacking a new benefit onto a broken system that America’s grandchildren cannot afford. “I support giving senior citizens access to affordable prescription drugs, and modernizing Medicare to make it work in the 21st century,” said Graham. “In order to provide comprehensive coverage, including prescription drugs, Medicare must be reformed to make it more efficient and less of a red-tape bound bureaucracy. I’m truly disappointed we didn’t accomplish those objectives in this bill. We missed a golden opportunity.” ####

Nov 25 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Health Endowment Properties, Inc. in Greenville will receive a $169,956 grant to support housing developments for the elderly and persons with disabilities. “This program will help empower elderly and disabled persons in Greenville County,” said Graham. “It is important that we continue to provide the necessary resources to enable those in need of assistance to remain independent and active participants in the community.” The funds will be used to pay the salary, benefits, and administrative expenses associated with employing a Service Coordinator. A Service Coordinator helps link elderly residents and persons with disabilities to the community based supportive services they need to continue living independently in their homes. ####

Nov 21 2003

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has written peer-to-peer network company executives calling on them to adhere to copyright laws and cease the distribution of pornography, especially child pornography, over their networks. The letter, circulated by Graham was also signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Barbara Boxer (D-California), and sent to executives of Grokster, Bearshare, Blubster, eDonkey2000, LimeWire, and Streamcast Networks. “Purveyors of peer-to-peer technology have legal and moral obligation to conform to copyright laws, and end the pornographic trade over these networks,” said Graham. “These programs expose our children to sexually explicit materials and provide an anonymous venue for child pornographers to hide behind the vale of technology.” The letter states, “recent studies by the General Accounting Office and Palisades Systems, a respected technology company, clearly demonstrate that your software currently is being used almost exclusively as a means of illegally trading copyrighted material and distributing pornography, including child pornography. For example, the Palisades report concluded that 97 percent of all the material available on file-sharing services was either copyrighted or pornography; 99 percent of audio files requested on file-sharing services were copyrighted; and 42 percent of all requests on file-sharing services were for adult or child pornography.” The six Senators suggest three specific courses of action to end illegal distribution of materials and protect children from exposure to graphic content:
  1. Provide a Clear, Conspicuous, and Meaningful Notice & Warning to Users about the Legal Risks of Using P2P Software
  2. Incorporate Effective Copyright and Pornography Filters
  3. Change the “Sharing” Default Setting- P2P software is designed so that every copyrighted file users download is automatically distributed to everyone else on the network. So the only way to avoid being a forced distributor, and thereby avoid being subject to a copyright infringement lawsuit for “sharing”, is to change the default settings that come with the software.
“We strongly believe that voluntarily taking these three common-sense steps would go a long way toward educating and protecting consumers,” wrote the group. “It also would clearly indicate your company’s desire to become responsible corporate citizens.” ####

Nov 20 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Calhoun County Metal Health Association will receive a $342,500 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities grant. The grant program provides capital advance financing and rental assistance to non-profit organizations. The funds are to be used for the development and operation of supportive housing to enable persons with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community. “This program will help empower disabled persons in Calhoun County,” said Graham. “It is important that we continue to provide the necessary resources to enable those in need of assistance to become active participants in the community.” The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####

Nov 20 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced $9.8 million in federal funding for non-profit organizations to develop and operate supportive housing for the elderly in North Augusta, Sumter and North. The Supportive Housing for the Elderly Funding program provides capital advance financing and rental assistance to non-profit organizations. “Senior citizens have given so much to the development and defense of our country,” said Graham. “They truly are America’s greatest generation, and we have a responsibility to see that they are cared for and treated with dignity and respect.” North Augusta $3.5 million has been approved for Georgia Rehabilitation Institute to construct 40 one-bedroom units for the very low-income elderly in North Augusta. The project will be designed to be handicap accessible, and two percent of the rooms will be designed for visual or hearing impairments. Sumter $4.6 million has been approved for the John H. Wellons Foundation to construct 53 one-bedroom units for the very low-income elderly in Sumter. The project will be designed for accessibility to all for “aging in place” and some units will be fully handicap equipped. North $1.7 million has been approved for the Orangeburg County Council on Aging to construct 20 one-bedroom units for the very low-income elderly in North. Two units will be fully accessible according to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, and one unit will be designed to meet the needs of the visually or hearing impaired. The project funding is made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####

Nov 19 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate unanimously passed the 2004 Veterans’ Affairs, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. The bill contains $5.7 million dollars for South Carolina projects. “The funding provided for South Carolina projects in this bill is extremely important because it supports actual bricks and mortar construction projects,” said Graham. “These are tangible improvements in a variety of areas including water infrastructure, education, economic development, housing and others. These projects truly improve the lives of South Carolinians and promote future economic development.” South Carolina Projects Included in the Bill
  • $2 million increase in funding for the School of Science and Mathematics at the College of Charleston to enhance and expand science and technology programs;
  • $1.2 million to the Town of Ravenel for the construction of a main sewer transmission line along US HWY 17;
  • $1 million to the Five Rivers Community Development Corporation in Georgetown for economic development and affordable housing;
  • $1 million to the Commission of Public Works of the City of Charleston for wastewater tunnel replacement;
  • $1 million Rock Hill for the revitalization and development of the Arcade-Westside area of Rock Hill;
  • $500,000 to the Winchester Conservation Museum for building expansion.
The bill must now go to conference with the House of Representatives and be signed into law by President Bush. ####

Nov 19 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $370,000 in grants to fire departments in Fountain Inn, Greenville, Latta and Pacolet. “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. Fountain Inn Greenpond Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Unit will receive $41,535. Greenville Gantt Fire Department will receive $45,434. Latta Dillon County Fire Department- Area 2 will receive $227,156 for the purchase of a new firefighting vehicle. Pacolet Pacolet Station Fire District will receive $65,488. 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 19 2003

Congress Passes Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Includes Millions for South Carolina Projects and Fully Funds SRS

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the 2004 Energy and Water Appropriations legislation which contained millions of dollars in projects for South Carolina and the Savannah River Site (SRS). “These projects funded in this bill will make the state more attractive for future economic development, business investment, and tourism,” said Graham. “The bill does a lot to help ensure our state’s waterways are navigable and safe for recreational boaters and business. In South Carolina, we are fortunate to have such a wonderful natural environment and this bill takes great steps toward protecting our state’s legacy for today and future generations. “I am proud of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing this bill in a bipartisan manner,” said Graham. “This demonstrates the ability of the Republican leadership to reach out to our Democratic friends and accomplish business that is good for the American people. “At Savannah River Site we’re working to keep the peace,” said Graham. “SRS is playing a leading role in the effort to turn surplus weapons grade plutonium into fuel. They’re also accelerating cleanup of the Site’s Cold War legacy.” Graham noted the bill also amends the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 by adding an additional $20 million for wastewater treatment and water supply projects associated with Lakes Marion and Moultrie and adding $5 million dollars for wastewater infrastructure in Charleston. The bill will now go to President Bush for his signature. South Carolina Related Projects
  • $23.5 million for a nationwide university reactor fuel program. The bill encourages the U.S. Department of Energy to support the new program at the University of South Carolina, and congratulates the state for creating one of the first new graduate programs in nuclear engineering in the last 20 years.
  • $16.42 million for the Russell Dam and Lake for construction, operations and maintenance (SC & GA);
  • $13.96 million for Lake Hartwell operations and maintenance (SC & GA);
  • $11.747 million for J. Strom Thurmond Lake for operation and maintenance (SC & GA);
  • $10 million for Charleston Harbor operations and maintenance;
  • $5.5 million for the Thurmond Lake Powerhouse for major rehabilitation (SC & GA);
  • $5 million for the deepening and widening of Charleston Harbor;
  • $4.35 million for Lake Russell wildlife mitigation payments to South Carolina and Georgia;
  • $3.38 million to the Cooper River for operations and maintenance;
  • $2.719 million to Georgetown Harbor for the dredging of Sampit River and Upper Winyah Bay, and for operations and maintenance;
  • $2.2 million to the University of South Carolina for expanding clean energy research and education programs;
  • $1.432 million to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway for operations and maintenance;
  • $1 million for the Coastal Research Center at MUSC;
  • $500,000 for the Claflin University Science Center;
  • $500,000 for planning the expansion of Savannah Harbor (SC & GA);
  • $400,000 to Folly River for operations and maintenance in 7 miles of channel;
  • $430,000 to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway for general investigations of river dredging;
  • $419,000 to Town Creek for operations and maintenance;
  • $350,000 to Lakes Marion and Moultrie for general stewardship;
  • $300,000 for the Aquatic Plant Control Program, a statewide management of nuisance aquatic plant problems in public waters;
  • $250,000 for the University of South Carolina to study groundwater contamination;
  • $229,000 for the Corps of Engineers to conduct project condition surveys throughout the state;
  • $200,000 to the Savannah River Basin for general investigation;
  • $200,000 to Folly Beach for general construction;
  • $200,000 for Corps of Engineer planning activities in Georgetown and Williamsburg counties;
  • $170,000 to the Reedy River for general investigation;
  • $100,000 to Pawleys Island for pre-construction engineering and design;
  • $100,000 to the Broad River Basin for general investigation;
  • $100,000 to Edisto Island for an erosion study;
  • $100,000 for Savannah Harbor sediment control (SC & GA);
  • $75,000 for the Santee Delta Environmental Restoration;
  • $50,000 to the Waccamaw River for general investigation;
  • $45,000 to Murrells Inlet for operations and maintenance;
  • $26,000 for the Corp of Engineers to inspect completed projects.
Savannah River Site The bill fully funds the daily operation of SRS, including specific money for the following projects:
  • $402 million for the MOX fuel fabrication facility;
  • $75 million for the construction of the tritium extraction facility;
  • $20.259 million for a second glass storage building;
  • $13.6 million for the construction of the pit disassembly and conversion facility;
  • $2.75 million for cleaning and loading modifications. This procurement is for long lead procurement of engineered equipment for the Tritium Facilities at SRS;
  • $1.134 million for container surveillance.
In addition, the bill provides $10.81 million for the Modern Pit Facility (MPF). SRS is one of several potential sites for locating the MPF. Site selection is expected by early next year. #####

Nov 18 2003

Textile Industry Receives Protection from Chinese Imports

Safeguard Relief Provisions Activated by Bush Administration

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased the Bush Administration had decided to implement the China safeguard relief provisions to protect the textile industry. The safeguards re-establish a quota on unrestricted textile and apparel categories – such as knit fabric, dressing gowns and robes, and bras – for a period of one year and could be expanded for two additional one-year periods. “I’m very pleased the Bush Administration has decided to implement the safeguard protections,” said Graham. “There’s no question the Chinese have been cheating and profiting from unfair trade practices. The safeguards are one way to show the Chinese that their conduct is out of bounds and we aren’t going to put up with it. I applaud Commerce Secretary Don Evans and President Bush for taking meaningful steps to combat China’s cheating.” Graham blamed the Chinese for intentionally manipulating the value of their currency creating a competitive disadvantage for American producers. He noted the Chinese yuan has been tightly pegged to the US dollar in a range of 8.3 yuan per dollar since 1994. Given China's enormous growth over the past decade, this fixed level most likely does not reflect its true value. If the yuan were allowed to float freely, like other major currencies, many economists believe it would appreciate substantially against the U.S. dollar. Economists at Goldman Sachs have estimated that the yuan may be undervalued by 15 percent and other experts say that number could be as high as 40 percent, meaning that the Chinese intentionally lower their currency's value to make their goods and services cheap internationally. The practical effect of this currency manipulation means Chinese manufacturers receive a 15 percent to 40 percent discount on their exports, providing them with a nearly insurmountable advantage over American producers. “There has been a perfect storm brewing in China which is trying to destroy what remains of the textile industry,” said Graham. “China’s access to the U.S. textile and apparel market more than doubled in 2002, growing by an astounding 117 percent and is up an additional 114 percent so far in 2003. “We have lost thousands of textile jobs in South Carolina, not because the Chinese work harder or smarter, but simply because they are cheating,” said Graham. “The American textile worker can compete with anyone given a fair opportunity. Unfortunately, that opportunity does not exist in today’s’ economy.” Graham noted he will also continue to push legislation he introduced with Senators Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) which imposes a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese imports if they do not put an end to currency manipulation. The legislation, S. 1586, allows the President to remove sanctions once he certifies that China has moved to a market-based currency. The tariffs would kick in after a 180 day grace period to ensure that Treasury officials have adequate time to work with the Chinese to institute reforms. The U.S. Senate is on record in support of changing the Chinese currency practices. Last month, the body passed Senate Resolution 219 calling on China to abide by its international agreements and adopt a market-based system of currency valuation. The resolution passed Senate late last month without a single dissenting vote. “The textile industry provides jobs and benefits to hundreds of thousands of Americans,” said Graham. “The Bush Administration was right to protect these jobs from a communist dictatorship that manipulates and cheats rather than follow the rule of law. But there’s still more that needs to be done.” ####